EL CENTRO — Last night’s volleyball match between the Southwest Eagles and the Brawley Wildcats had the makings of an instant classic from the jump. These were two full-throated teams with rowdy fan-bases, considered by many to be the top two squads in the Imperial Valley League heading into the season, and they locked horns in a no-holds-barred fight to the finish.
By the time the Eagles had put the finishing touches on their five-set thriller — in which they overcame a two-set deficit to win 22-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-19, 15-10 — several folks in the stands looked as though they might keel over from yelling.
Both teams played exceedingly well, each demonstrating for stretches the high skill levels that made this such an anticipated match.
Southwest’s Madeline Jungers would swipe at the ball with such apparent fury, it was a wonder it didn’t burst at the seams.
Brawley’s Jennah Rodriguez seemed never to leave the court, displaying excellent stamina as she guarded her team’s rear.
Both teams worked the whole court and knew when to punch vs. when to tap, a mark of genuine skill.
Overall, fans couldn’t have asked for a better match, another one of those where it seems almost churlish to crown a winner, but Southwest earned it.
After coming so close to taking care of business in three, Brawley seemed to deflate a little, while the Eagles got stronger and stronger. When the Wildcats made pushes to get back in it, Southwest always had an answer.
Both schools are back at it next Tuesday.
Brawley (6-4, 2-1 IVL) plays Palo Verde, in Blythe, and 12-2 (4-0 IVL) Southwest makes the short trip over to Imperial to face the Tigers.