On Wednesday, Tucky called a timeout with the Minutemen facing set point. When her players huddled around her, Mendham trailed, 24-21, in the second game.
"Calling a timeout then helped," Tucky said. "It let them calm down and figure out what they needed to do. They had to determine where the best kills were. They had to think things through and then do it."
The Minutemen came up with a strategy, returned to their positions on the court and scored six of the last seven points to clinch the game, 27-25, and the non-conference match against feisty Morris Hills. Mendham won the first game, 25-14, after overcoming service issues early on.
"We came together and asked ourselves if we really wanted to win," said senior Colleen Farley, the Minutemen's setter. "We hustled. We didn't let anything drop."
By staying calm and not panicking, Mendham (6-2) endured a number of rough patches.
"That tends to be the case with this team," Tucky said. "They get through it."
For a few minutes, it appeared that the Minutemen might not escape and there'd be a third game. With the score tied, 20-20, Morris Hills (7-4) scored four of the next five points.
The Scarlet Knights received excellent kills from Audrey Bencel and Lilly Robbins. Mendham gave away a point when it hit the ball into the net.
Following the timeout, the Minutemen benefited from a Morris Hills error and got kills from Olivia Metrione and Carli Aluotto. At 24-24, Mendham senior Jackie Mullens had a let serve as the ball clipped the net and eluded the Scarlet Knights.
"I just try to get the ball in every time," Mullens, an outside hitter, said. "All I want to do is get it over. My arm came down faster than it should have."
A serve was netted by the Minutemen and the teams were even again, 25-25. Mendham got the last two points when Morris Hills couldn't return a serve and when the ball didn't make it over on a kill attempt.
"We showed up and played as a team in the second game," Morris Hills coach Christina Hobson said. "We fought for every point. When we do that, we do very well. i believed in them. I felt they'd do it. We struggled at the very end."
Bethany Young, a three-year varsity starter at setter, was pleased with the Scarlet Knights' overall effort. She only wished they had "come out stronger."
"We played as a team. If we had done that the whole time, we would've had a better chance of winning the first game," said Young (11 assists, 3 digs, 1 ace). "I thought we had the second game but we got nervous. We brought our energy up. We talked. When we need to push hard, we lose it. We need to work on getting it done."
What hurt Morris Hills, a third-year program, most in the first game were service returns and defense.
Other Scarlet Knights standouts were junior outside hitter Casey DeSa (7 kills, 3 digs, 1 ace) and senior libero Gabby Saggese, who finished with 13 digs.
For Mendham, Farley was top-notch, accumulating 25 assists, making six digs and getting two aces. Aluotto, a senior outside hitter, contributed 10 kills, 7 digs, a block and an ace. Senior libero Taylor Chamberlain had 22 digs.
Mullens, an outside hitter, chipped in with 7 kills, 11 digs and two aces. Mullens has played the front and back row recently because of sophomore Michaela Sharp's illness. She usually only plays up front and serves.
Tucky thought Morris Hills' showing was exceptional.
"You have to give them credit for stepping up their game," she said. "They hit better and passed better. It was a very competitive match."