Just enough power

Published 5:10 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- With a 12-6 lead and momentum in its favor, the Brandywine varsity volleyball team may have eased up a bit and let Dowagiac back in the match Monday night.
The visiting Chieftains overcame that 12-6 deficit in the first game for a 16-14 win, and forced the match to last five games, but in the end Brandywine had just enough power to come away with a 14-16, 15-13, 15-7, 6-15, 15-13 non-conference victory.
Following the setback in the first game, Brandywine, which is an honorable mention team in the latest Class C poll, rallied for two straight wins and a chance to end the match in the fourth game.
Another letdown, however, gave Dowagiac a chance to tie the match at two games apiece and the Chieftains did so in convincing fashion with a 15-6 victory.
The fifth game, like most of the match, was a back-and-forth contest. The Bobcats scored first, but Dowagiac soon took a lead. The largest lead of the game was four points, when Brandywine went ahead 10-6. The Chieftains were quick to cut that lead down to two points before a final push gave Brandywine a 15-13 victory.
Whitney agreed with Tucker that the two teams seemed evenly matched, at least on this particular night.
Early in the match, Brandywine's hitting attack proved too much for the Chieftain defense, especially junior outside hitter Nikki Cooper who led all hitters in the match with 14 kills.
The Bobcats also got fine offensive performances from Emily Whitney with 13 kills, Katie Tuohy with nine kills, Kelli Zache with eight kills and Nikki Martyniuk with seven kills.
Defensively, Emily Whitney led the team in digs with 17 and Cooper added 14. It was Nicki McGowen, who finished with nine digs, who stuck out it Gary Whitney's mind.
Dowagiac also used a well-balanced attach with Jennifer Pilot leading the way with 13 kills. Michele Pilot added 12 kills and Brianne Reist had 10 kills. Erica Knapp also helped out with four kills.
Tuohy led the Bobcats with six blocks and Martyniuk helped out with five blocks.
Tuohy and Martyniuk were also the focus of much of Brandywine's offensive strategy. In an effort to get the middle hitters involved, Brandywine setter Bridget Mitchell was asked to force some sets to those two. Mitchell finished with 36 assists.
Tucker was disappointed in her team's serving performance. Service errors played a factor in the final outcome, she said.