Niles volleyball holds off Brandywine in four sets

Published 10:49 pm Monday, September 16, 2013

Brandywine’s Sydney Carlson rips a kill past Niles Monday night. The Vikings defeated the Bobcats 3-1. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Brandywine’s Sydney Carlson rips a kill past Niles Monday night. The Vikings defeated the Bobcats 3-1. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

The Niles volleyball team had a hard time putting away its arch-rival Brandywine on Monday.

Eventually, the Vikings got the key points and prevailed over the pesky Bobcats, 25-21, 25-16, 22-25, 25-22.

“At the start, I felt comfortable,” said Niles coach Jenny Nate, whose team improved to 14-1-3. “In the second set, I did a little experimenting because we have a tournament coming up on Saturday and we’ve got some girls that are going to be gone taking the ACT Saturday so I had to see if some of my younger girls could perform (against Brandywine), so I put them in some spots to be uncomfortable.

“That’s my fault as a coach. But, that being said, they have to be uncomfortable and still be able to win and still play their game, no matter where they’re at. There was a lot of different chemistry out there. A lot of times it’s hard to bring the players together the entire game. That’s what we’ve got to learn to do.”

Brandywine coach Carl Greulich liked his team’s effort, but he feels his girls can play better.

“We fought back several times,” Greulich, whose team fell to 11-9-3. “I think our biggest problem tonight was just passing. Niles was able to keep us off balance with some tough serving. I explained to our kids when you’re in that situation to just get the ball up high so the setter can run under it and do something with it. For a young team, I thought we were really scrappy.”

Niles led 19-11 in game one before Brandywine rallied to pull within 23-21 after getting a service ace from Michaela Hartline. The Bobcats got the final two points in the match on a kill from Kierra Fillwock and an ace from Kelsey Barton.

The Vikings finished game two on a 15-6 run with Fillwock’s kill being the game-winning point.

Brandywine wouldn’t allow Niles to shut them out as the Bobcats won a hard fought game three. The biggest lead in game three was five points, which was owned by Brandywine at 24-19 after getting a service ace from Sydney Carlson.

Niles cut the deficit to 24-22 after getting a service ace from Barton. Brandywine would force a fourth game after getting the game-winning point on a Vikings’ kill out of bounds.

“I was glad that we at least took a game from them,” Greulich said. “That’s something positive that the kids can take out of this match for the future. We have some tough opponents coming up and this was a good match for us to help us get ready for those matches.”

The Vikings trailed only once in game four at 12-11, but Niles had some nervous moments before winning the game and the match. Trailing 22-14, Brandywine went on a 7-1 run to pull within 23-21. The Vikings finished off the Bobcats with a kill from Lashonda Greene.

“We’ve got to learn not to be too comfortable,” Nate said.

Niles hurt Brandywine with its size and athleticism. Viking 6-foot standout Miranda Baker did damage with her height and leaping ability. Baker finished with 15 kills and 10 blocks. Greene added nine kills and Fillwock had five. Barton had 37 assists and 11 service aces.

“Outstanding,” Nate said about Baker’s performance. “But the truth of the matter is, is that Miranda is a powerhouse and we have a lot of hitters in double digits in about every match. So, we’re getting it done all the way around. Miranda is the leading force. Kelsey, my setter, has been great. When the passes are there our offense is unstoppable. We made a lot of errors tonight that we shouldn’t be making.”

Brooke Smith and Olivia DePriest each finished with six kills to lead Brandywine offensively. Hartline added five service aces and Emily Erwin had 24 assists.


Niles d. Brandywine 25-21, 25-16, 22-25, 25-22

Kills: Miranda Baker (N) 15, Lashonda Greene (N) 9, Kierra Fillwock (N) 5, Megan Kohler (N) 3, Brooke Smith (B) 6, Olivia DePriest (B) 6, Sydney Carlson (B) 4, Michaela Hartline (B) 3

Blocks: Baker (N) 10, Jazminn Brann (N) 5, Fillwock (N) 2, Kelsey Barton (N) 2, Smith (B) 5, DePriest (B) 4, Rachelle Dodge (B) 3

Assists: Barton (N) 37, Emily Erwin (B) 24

Aces: Barton (N) 11, Baker (N) 2, Michaela Hartline (B) 5, Justine Sater (B) 4, Carlson (B) 3, Smith (B) 3

Digs: Margaret Hoff (N) 8, Baker (N) 4, Alexandria Smith (N) 2, Greene (N) 2, Abby Cole (B) 10, Michaela Hartline (B) 5, Carlson (B) 3, Sater (B) 2