Vikings edge Bears 3-2Published 10:13pm Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Even with a 2-0 lead, Niles coach Jenny Nate believed Wednesday’s Big 16 Conference West Division volleyball match with visiting St. Joseph was going the distance.
She was right too, as the Vikings dropped the next two sets and had to rally to beat the Bears 3-2.
Niles beat St. Joseph 28-26, 25-23, 14-25, 25-25, 15-12.
The Vikings got off to a great start in the fifth and deciding set, grabbing a 4-0 lead on a kill and a block by Miranda Baker, which sandwiched an ace by Cortney Shirrell.
St. Joseph rallied to square the set at 6-6 and then the two teams battled back and forth for the next several points.
The Vikings were able to open up a 10-7 advantage on the Bears as Kierra Fillwock picked up a kill. But back-to-back errors by Niles allowed St. Joseph to close the gap.
Baker’s 19th kill of the match gave the Vikings a 13-10 lead and her 20th kill set up match point for Niles.
An error by St. Joseph gave the win to the Vikings.
“I knew we had it all week,” Nate said. “I knew from their drive at practice. We had a team meeting yesterday (Tuesday) and we took probably a half an hour away from practice. But I thought at this point it’s more mental than physical.
“This is about our seniors, our team and everything we worked for this season. So we went into a little room and watched a video on how bad do you want it. They came back to practice and hit like they’ve never hit. They’ve come together like we’ve never come together.”
The Vikings definitely need to stick together, especially when the match turned in sets three and four. But a determined bunch Niles players, led by seniors Shirrell and Ashley Love, pulled back together for one final push.
“There was nothing going to stop us tonight,” Nate said. “This was senior night and this was what we have worked for. I knew we had it no doubt.”
Nate went on to say that Love and Shirrell kept the team up throughout the match and that their leadership was the difference.
“Ashley and Cortney are amazing,” she said. “Not only are they dominant on the court, but they were the ones that even when we were down, looked at everyone of these girls and brought them back up.”
Love finished the night with 17 kills, while Shirrell had 49 assists to go along with five digs and four blocks.
The Niles JV volleyball team was edged by St. Joseph 2-1.
McKenna Bybee had nine kills for the Vikings, while Chelsea Best had two aces, 10 assists and two digs. Holly Walker had eight digs and Hannah Walker seven digs and an ace.
Niles d. St. Joseph 3-2
Miranda Baker 20
Ashley Love 17
Lashonda Greene 9
Maggie Hoff 6
Olivia Jordan 5
Cortney Shirrell 5
Kierra Fillwock 2