Already playing with a young roster, Payton coach Casey Feeney was forced to use a different lineup thanks to numerous players on a school trip, including starting setter Lincoln Wang and starting outside Alex Brown.
In their place, Feeney played four sophomores and two juniors, along with senior star Earl Schultz.
The new lineup didn’t faze the Grizzlies, who defeated Young 25-19, 25-15 at home on Thursday.
“We knew we had to step up with the other guys out,’’ junior Gabe Geleerd said. “Playing without those seniors gave us a chance to see what else we have on the team.’’
The city powers battled point-for-point early until Schultz put Payton ahead with a kill to break a 9-9 tie. The Grizzlies (9-2, 4-0 Gold) went on an 8-2 run to take the largest lead of Game 1 before the Dolphins mounted a comeback.
Young cut the lead to 19-18 before Geleerd put a stop to the bleeding with a kill and back-to-back aces.
Game 2 began in a similar way as the first, and Payton again took a 10-9 lead on a Schultz kill.
Unlike the first game, the Grizzlies kept the pressure on Young. Matt Mata, Schultz and Andres Correa went on serving runs that included at least three points per server.
The teams split their previous four meetings, so the victory was sweet, especially for the younger members of the squad.
“It’s a friendly rivalry, we all play club together so we’re friends but once we get on the court it’s a different story,’’ Geelerd said.
Schultz had 11 kills to lead Payton, while Geelerd added seven. Filip Mietka had five kills for the Dolphins (2-4, 2-2).
‘‘This is good for us because it lets us know what our bench is like,’’ Geelerd said. “If it strengthens our bench, it’ll make us better not only this season, but in the future when the seniors leave.’’