|Lady Knights sweep Jeffcats in NWC|
|Friday, September 13, 2013 12:28 AM|
By JIM METCALFE
DELPHOS — The game of volleyball is perhaps the biggest when it comes to momentum.
The Jefferson crew found that out the hard way Thursday night at home versus perennial Northwest Conference power Crestview at Jefferson High School.
The Wildcats couldn’t finish set one, they struggled in the middle part of the second set and never got off the ground the third set in losing 25-18, 25-20, 25-8.
“We’re too inconsistent. If we finish the first set like we should have, it’s a whole different match,” Jefferson coach Joy DeVelvis noted. “In the middle set, we played well for a while and then stopped playing and started over-analyzing. In the third set, we stopped running our offense; that made it so much easier for them to run theirs.”
Crestview mentor Tammy Gregory felt her team had to work its way into the match.
“This was our third match this week in perhaps the hottest week of the year; we just had to start playing our game,” she explained. “We made a few too many errors for my taste and we just had to start playing with more confidence.”
The first installment of this match was back and forth, with both squads having their moments. They took turns making good plays — either with the serve, the attacks at the net, digs or passing — and making mistakes. Jefferson senior Katie Goergens (8 kills) and classmate Rileigh Stockwell (4 kills) in particular got going early, while the Lady Knights (6-1, 2-0 NWC) turned to a varied attack with setters Mackenzie Riggenbach (junior; 24 assists, 2 aces) and sophomore Haley Helm (11 assists, 10 kills, 2 aces) at the controls. Tied at 12-12 as Jefferson (3-5, 0-2 NWC) junior Desteni Lear put one down off the Knight defense, Helm bombed one to the other side of the court to give the visitors the lead for good. Try as the Red and White might, the Knights slowly put the opener in their column, getting the 1-set lead as senior Grace Callow (4 kills) put a bomb down.
The Wildcats didn’t seem to let that bother them in set two, riding Goergens and senior Lindsay Deuel (7 kills) — as well as a few hitting miscues by their foe — to grab a 10-5 edge on a hitting error, forcing Gregory to call time. Back came the Red, White and Blue behind players such as junior Courtney Trigg (14 kills, 4 stuffs, 2 aces) as she controlled the middle. They used a 16-4 spurt to take command at 21-14 on a Trigg ace. Goergens did her best, putting in three kills and a stuff the rest of the set, but the Wildcats couldn’t answer enough in falling behind 2 sets to none on a hit off the Delphos block by Helm on set point.
Trigg flat out took over in the third set, compiling eight kills — including some bombs to the other side of the court — and a pair of stuffs as the Knights rode a 12-0 spurt, 11 of them with libero sophomore Tianna Rager at the serve, to take total command at 15-1. From then on, it was only a matter of time before the sweep was completed as Helm put down another attack off the Jefferson back row to secure that sweep.
Junior Brooke Culp set the Jefferson table with 16 assists, while senior Kamie Pulford (6-of-8 digs) and classmate Gabrielle Pimpas (5-of-7) led the defense.
Senior Kirstin Hicks added six kills for the guests and junior Megan Hartman five.
“Right now, it’s so much the mental part that we’re struggling with. We have to play at such a high level all the time; we can’t have any letdowns,” DeVelvis added. “We talk about finishing, like the first set, but they have to find it within themselves to do so. It’s like we get to the top of the hill but then fall back down.”
Crestview won the junior varsity match 25-14, 25-21 as the Wildcats fell to 2-5, 0-2 NWC.
“Courtney took over the third set. We try to focus on the team — it doesn’t matter who leads us in kills, for example — but we like to get her the ball,” Gregory added. “Everything came together: we made good passes to our setters and our setters gave her the ball in good position to hit it well. Having two setters is a luxury, so we don’t have one running all over the place.”
Crestview hosts a tri-match versus Kalida and Antwerp at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Jefferson visits Ada at 6 p.m. Tuesday.