Niles volleyball sweep past LakeshorePublished 8:42am Thursday, October 1, 2009
By STEVE MORRISON
Niles Daily Star
With a dominant effort at the net, the host Niles Viking varsity volleyball team held off a persistent Lakeshore Lancer crew to earn a hard-fought match victory Wednesday night.
The Lady Vikings won three straight sets 25-23, 25-20 and 25-18 to knock off their Big 16 West Conference rivals, with adept passing and timely defense.
Niles coach Linda Martin was exuberant in her description of the up and coming Vikes’ tenacious attack.
“We had great passing,” she began. “Our game plan was that we had bigger middles (players); so we were trying to establish the offense in the middle and on the right side. Once we got that established, we were able to go to our outside hitter shifts, as well, and have one-on-one situations.
“So the girls took the game plan, worked it completely to perfection, made changes during the game, changed the blocking rotation, and I am very happy with my team,” she analyzed.
In game one, the Lancers took an early 4-1 lead courtesy of Victoria Bowman’s solid spike and Lauren Chorney’s blocked shot.
But Niles kept pounding back at the visitors.
Ashley Love had plenty to do with the Viking resurgence with a kill and a block. Co-captain Rebecca Lewis added a kill and a diving dig and Sarah Ferguson’s ace gave Niles its first lead, 19-18, after Lakeshore had served into the net for an 18-all score.
Love’s second kill, followed by Lewis’ ace, put Niles up at 23-20. Despite a tip and a tremendous block by Lakeshore’s Sara Kirchner, the hosts held onto the lead.
Rachael Zeider’s leaping smash and Ashley Allison’s hard shot off of Lakeshore’s Christina Welch’s outstretched hands provided the winning points in the 25-23 nail-biter.
Again, Lakeshore started ahead 2-0 in the second set, but with Love serving the Vikings took a 5-4 advantage. Lewis’ tip made the bulge 6-4 and Zeider’s solid block raised the score to 8-4.
A spike and timely tip by Devyn Roberts kept Niles on top 11-7. Allison’s continuous digs kept Lakeshore at bay. A huge slam by Zeider and another by Charissa Spear gave Niles some breathing room at 18-13.
Niles kept that five point margin for much of the rest of the set. Ferguson’s kill, Lewis’ quick two-handed thrust and Allison’s ace were the final three points to subdue the visitors at 25-20.
In the final set, the Vikings struck first on Roberts’ kill. Zeider’s two smashes and her block, along with an ace from Lewis, had the hosts up 5-2.
Lakeshore just wouldn’t surrender.
A kill and an ace by Kaitlyn Price, a smash by Bowman and a block by Welch helped the Lancers to tie at six apiece. The score remained close until Brittney Buti’s sliding save, after along volley, enabled Niles to a 16-10 advantage.
Lauren Chorny’s kill and ace, and two kills by Sara Kirchner, rallied the visitors to an 18-16 deficit.
Another huge spike by Roberts and Ferguson’s swift lob forced Niles back to a three-point lead, 20-17. Lakeshore only was able to score once more.
The hosts scored the last five tallies, as Spear made her biggest two shots of the night for the Vikings.
Her first tricked over the net and the second smash deflected off Lancer hands. Including another great stop at the net by Zeider, the hosts handed the Lancers a 25-18 loss.
After a strong 25-16 victory, in their first frame against the Lancers, Niles’ junior varsity pulled out a dramatic second game comeback victory.
Losing 22-15, the JV’s rebounded to tie 24-24 downing the Lancers 31-29 in overtime.
Abigail McKeel and Sarah Smith had four kills for the Vikings, while Joselyn Dlouhy had three. Hannah Porterfield contributed 11 assists, and Karissa Loveall nailed two aces for the winners.
Alyse Hoyt, Niles, JV coach, was encouraged by the “peaks and valleys” that her players had traveled in the surprising comeback. She pointed to the leadership and confidence of her co-captains, Smith and McKeel, in bringing the team together to rally.
Niles statistical leaders
Devyn Roberts 10
Rachel Zeider 7
Charissa Spear 6
Ashley Love 5
Sarah Ferguson 5
Ashley Allison 19
Brittney Buti 13
Becca Lewis 12
Michelle Briand 2