Niles feels the ‘Love’ against EdwardsburgPublished 8:46am Thursday, August 27, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Niles Daily Star
EDWARDSBURG – Niles was feeling the love in the fifth and deciding set Thursday night against Edwardsburg.
Ashley Love that is.
The Niles freshman outside hitter had four kills early in the set to help the Lady Vikings edged the host Lady Eddies 25-17, 25-15, 20-25, 16-27 and 17-15 in a non-conference volleyball match.
Everything appeared to be going Niles’ way early on, but then the oars fell off the Vikings’ boat in sets three and four.
Both teams picked up the intensity in the fifth set, but it was the play at the net by Niles that turned the tide.
“I take responsibility for games three and four,” Niles coach Linda Goodrich said. “We made some line-up changes and we had some communication issues and just weren’t really able to push and play with excitement.
“I can’t say enough about Ashley Love coming through. She’s a freshman playing like a senior,” she added.
Love got Niles on the scoreboard first in the fifth set with a pair of kills.
Love’s tip made it 4-1 and her fourth kill made it a 5-3 contest.
Niles senior captain Ashley Allison also got the Lady Vikings off to a good start as she served up the first three points of the set.
Edwardsburg wasn’t about to give up after coming back from dropping the first two sets to Niles.
After taking sets three and four, the Lady Eddies looked to have all the momentum on their side.
“I was very proud of my girls to push through when they were tired,” Edwardsburg coach Sarah Benjamin, who was a bit tired herself after the match said. “I think the Niles team shut down in games three and four due to fatigue and my girls have worked really hard the last week. We were doing three-a-days and my girls have really busted their butts.”
Edwardsburg cut the Niles lead to 5-4 and then the two teams traded short runs throughout the rest of the set.
A 6-0 run by the Lady Eddies got them an 11-8 lead, but they just couldn’t hold it.
Three consecutive hitting errors turned the set around for Niles.
After Rachel Zeider made it 11-9 with a kill, the hitting mistakes by Edwardsburg ended up giving the Lady Vikings a 12-11 advantage.
Still, the two teams were not about to setting for a regular finish after nearly two hours of competition.
A Niles hitting error made it 12-12, but Zeider dunked another kill on a short set and gave the Lady Vikings a one-point advantage.
Elise Mackling tied the game again with one of her match-high 23 kills before Zeider picked up another kill to tie the match at 14-14.
Mackling put the Lady Eddies on the brink of victory with a kill, but a mistake at the net tied the match up once again.
Love’s fifth kill of the set gave Niles a 16-15 lead and Devyn Roberts finished it off with a solid spike.
In the opening two sets, the Lady Vikings appeared to be headed for another short night.
But to their credit, Edwardsburg was able to come back, take the next to sets and create a dramatic finish.
Besides Love’s career-high effort in kills, Niles also got 12 kills from Allison and six kills from Charissa Spear.
Allison and Brea Haines led the Lady Vikings with 13 and 11 digs respectively, while Zeider and Lewis had three and two blocks. Lewis also had 43 assists.
Mackling finished with three digs to go along with her 23 kills. Bronnie Tafunai added nine kills and eight digs for the Lady Eddies, who also got five kills and four blocks from Emily Kozinski.
Emily Getz had 20 assists, five kills and a pair of aces. Maddi Mueller added 25 digs, an assist and an ace.