September 14, 2013 Updated: September 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm
PEYTON - Maddee Morley could only roll her eyes as she watched a Peyton dig spiral high toward the rafters, swish into a retracted basketball hoop, trickle down and eventually tiptoe the Colorado Springs School's line to tie the second game at 18.
This time though, the veteran Kodiaks stayed calm.
Saturday, senior Maddy Mason led CSS with 15 kills while junior setter Morely again quarterbacked CSS to another win as the Kodiaks (8-0) clipped the hosting Panthers (6-2) in straight games 25-20, 25-21, 25-20.
"We usually get frustrated with Peyton every year. They just put the ball back over no matter what you do," said Morely, who had eight kills and 29 assists. "It's so frustrating. But we just kind of took a deep breath a couple times. We had to keep composed."
If not, the outcome could have been much different.
But on this rainy afternoon inside the red-trimmed Peyton gym, it was the same routine each game.
CSS would climb to a big lead (8-2 in the first, 7-2 in the second and 8-2 in the third) before the Panthers would rally behind one incredible defensive play after another.
"I tell my girls the floor is your friend so get down there," said Peyton coach Jacqueline Goodman, whose team leads the Black Forest League in digs this season. "Today, we made some mistakes and didn't execute the game plan like I'd hoped we would. But credit to them, they are a great team, have good size and showed a lot of command out there. . I'm very proud of our effort though."
Still, it wasn't enough to win the match, or even a game.
CSS always took back the momentum down the stretch.
While 5-foot-7 Panthers senior Shelby Patterson looked like the impetus for Mighty Mouse as she made diving digs seemingly out of nowhere to help her team get back into every game, Morley and Co. always ran away in the end.
In the second game, Morley got two of her three aces down the stretch to help CSS close the game on a 7-2 run. And to end the match, Morley tipped it up to Mason, who slammed down one of the few untouched kills of the afternoon.
As the unblemished Kodiaks keep rolling, so does their confidence.
"After one week of this preseason we were already better than we were last season," said Morley, who was also the setter last year for the team that finished 20-5. "We want to keep this going. And that adds pressure on us, our seniors - on me. But we thrive on it."
Peyton and CSS will meet again in a league match Oct. 17 for the regular-season finale.