In what promises to be the first of a series of exciting battles this volleyball season, Westview made enough plays to nip county rival Prairie Heights, 25-13, 25-20, 23-25, 21-25, 16-14 Tuesday night in Emma.
“I’m sure we will see them again a couple more times this year,” said a relieved Lady Warrior coach Heidi Brohm after the match, the first in NECC play for both squads. “It was very important for us to find a way to get this win. This is a big confidence boost for our girls.”
After taking the first two sets, Westview appeared to be on the doorstep of a sweep when a kill by Julia Wright and an errant Lady Panther tip gave the hosts a 23-21 edge. However, a couple of Lady Warrior miscues, followed by consecutive spikes from Emma Kurtz and Havanna Kleeberg earned Heights the game.
“We could have rolled over in the third game, but our seniors held us together and we fought back,” said Lady Panther coach Tina Sailor.
The fourth game saw Prairie Heights to score eight of the final nine points, rallying from a 20-17 deficit to take a four-point win and level the match. An ace by Shawna Carbone and a kill by Hannah Herber started the comeback, while a combined stuff by Haley Kleeberg and Tressa Terry capped it.
“When the momentum switched to Prairie Heights, we didn’t handle it very well,” admitted Brohm. “We’re still a very young team and maybe play a little too timid at times when we have the lead.”
The Lady Warriors led by as many as five points (9-4) in the fifth and decisive game, only to have the Lady Panthers catch and pass them at 13-12 on another spike by Herber. Westview regained the lead on a kill by Grace Hales and a block by Makai Gingerich, but a Lady Warrior error tied the score at 14-all.
A Prairie Heights serving error then gave the hosts another chance at closing out the match. They did so when a Lady Panther spike sailed long.
Hales and Breann Bushong sparked the Westview offense with 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Bushong also blocked four shots for points. “Breann is a lot stronger and quicker this year,” said Brohm of her senior hitter. “She’s always been a good reader of where the ball is going at the net. Now she is combining that with more athleticism.”
Miranda Kreese chipped in six kills to the Lady Warrior attack. Gingerich finished with 40 assists and equaled the three service aces delivered by both Lexi Hostetler and Rachel Johns. Hales topped the victors in digs with 26, followed by Johns with 17.
Carbone led Prairie Heights in kills with nine and digs with 26. Terry produced eight kills, 22 assists and two aces. McKenzie Kain collected 25 digs and two aces.
Both the 2-2 Lady Warriors and 2-1 Lady Panthers host invitationals this Saturday.