Niles spikers open season with a sweepPublished 11:07pm Monday, August 24, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Niles Daily Star
For openers, the Niles varsity volleyball team will take it.
The Lady Vikings kicked off the 2009 campaign Monday night with a sweep of visiting South Bend (Ind.) Adams.
Niles won the first two sets in convincing style, but seem to lose their rhythm in the third set, but came away with a victory.
The Lady Vikings took the first set 25-10 and then won the second set 25-17.
But in the third and deciding set, Niles and the Lady Eagles battled back and forth with neither team getting much of an edge.
Serving, solid net play and great defense keyed the Lady Vikings in the first two sets.
“What this team is going to be known for is its defense,” Niles coach Linda Martin said. “I was excited about our jump servers. Everybody has a solid jump serve because they can actually get down on the ball and get aggressive. But I wasn’t too happy about a senior missing a couple of serves.”
After Niles had grabbed a quick 2-0 lead, the Lady Eagles stormed back to take a 4-2 advantage.
The match was tied at 6-6 for a brief moment before the serving of Sarah Ferguson, Charissa Spear and captain Ashley Allison spearheaded a run that turned a tie game into a 22-10 lead for the Lady Vikings.
While that trio was getting it done at the service line, Rebecca Lewis, Rachel Zeider, Ashley Love and Devyn Roberts were doing their job at the net – blocking spike attempts and driving home kills.
In the second set, Brea Haines put on a clinic, both serving the ball and playing defense.
Haines served up nine straight winners at one point as Niles blew open the set, taking an 11-4 lead.
The lead reached 19-9 on a block by Zeider and Allison.
A short run by Adams trimmed the advantage a bit, but the Lady Vikings just kept digging up every shot attempt and slamming the ball back at the Lady Eagles.
“We have a solid block,” Martin said. “Rachel Zeider is 6-foot-3, Devyn Roberts is 5-foot-10 and quick and my setter (Lewis) can jump out of the gym. We have a freshman outside hitter in Ashley Love who also jumps real high.
“We have got passing like you cannot believe with that sophomore class. Brea Haines, our Libero, did not play game three, but she is phenomenal. She’s been playing for six seasons now with club volleyball and middle school volleyball. She’s just come up through the system. She’s a good talker, she knows the court, so she knows where she is supposed to be.”
Niles got off to a good start in the third set, leading 4-0 after the serving of Allison and 7-1 following a couple of service winners from Taylor Brandstatter.
But things got rough from there for the Lady Vikings.
Adams tied the set at 9-9 and it would be tied nine more times before Niles pulled it out in the end.
A kill by Spear gave the Lady Vikings a 23-22 lead and then a tip kill by Allison looked to have done it for Niles as it led 24-22.
But the Lady Eagles weren’t done yet.
Adams scored the next two points to knot the match up one final time at 24-24.
But a service error on the next points gave the Lady Vikings the lead for good.
Allison led the team with 12 kills, while Lewis had five kills and two blocks.
Lewis also had 21 assists.
Haines paced the team in digs with nine. Allison and Brittney Buti had three and two aces respectively.
Niles is back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Edwardsburg for another non-conference match.