After a perfect run through the first third of the CCC season, things have been a little more difficult for Golden Valley the second time through.
Matt Thiessen's squad had lost three of its last four conference clashes and Merced entered Monday night's rivalry match hoping to be the latest to add to GV's misery.
Brooke Wilson's kids almost did.
Merced rallied from two games down at home to force a fifth and decisive game.
Never miss a local story.
Unfortunately for Merced, Golden Valley recovered in time to pull out a 25-21, 25-18, 19-25, 24-26, 15-7 victory.
"We've been on kind of a roller coaster all season, where when we get down, we get really down," Wilson said. "We played really great against Pitman last week and it carried over into this game.
"GV went up 2-0, but there was a fire in the kids tonight that hasn't been there.
"They never put their heads down, and fought back into the match."
Rebecca Garitano paced Merced (1-0 CCC) with 18 kills and Summer Sanchez added 27 assists to spark the rally.
Merced also started digging everything GV (7-3 CCC) sent its way.
Kieli Rivera and Chelsea Evans led the defensive effort, each recording 18 digs.
Golden Valley just had too much up front, though.
Reina Sykes paced GV with 12 kills, 14 assists, eight blocks, 15 digs and four aces.
Kat Blake led Golden Valley with 12 kills and Macie Smith had a team-high 15 assists.
"I couldn't be prouder of the performance," Wilson said. "I know it goes down as a loss, but for us it's a win."