West Holmes Girls Soccer

A night of monster runs gives Braves the edge over Lady Knights

Sarah Anderson

Big runs make and break volleyball games. On Tuesday, Aug. 22 at West Holmes High School, runs played a predominant role for Indian Valley, who went on a number of runs to secure a 25-22, 25-22, 25-19 victory over the Lady Knights.

The first game was a nip and tuck affair that saw Indian Valley eke out a win late, and that set the stage for what was a fairly competitive evening of volleyball.

In game two West Holmes got out to a 12-9 game, but in the blink of an eye Indian Valley was up 17-12 after reeling off an eight-point run to take command. During the run Indian Valley got a huge boost from Kitanna Rakeshaw and Kiara Rakeshaw.

The lead grew to 20-14 for the Braves before the Lady Knights came pounding back, led by senior captain Lauren Park, who mashed her way to a pair of kills and a service ace. When Regan Wilcox recorded a kill, West Holmes was back to within 21-19. However, Kiara Rakeshaw got a kill, and then Indian Valley senior Kayla Tschudy took over, slamming home a pair of winners to give the Braves another 25-22 victory.

Game three saw West Holmes take over early with a five-point run that included some strong play from Emily Anderson, four straight service points from Park and another kill from Wilcox.

But just as it had in game two, Indian Valley responded, this time with an impressive 12-0 spree that saw Kitanna Rakeshaw serve up a pair of aces and Kiara Rakeshaw pound down five kills. That, along with some unforced West Holmes errors, was more than enough to send Indian Valley on to victory.

West Holmes got one final bolt of electricity when Sarah Anderson made a diving play, knocking the ball over the net and into no-man’s land for a point to stop the bleeding. That seemed to energize the Lady Knights momentarily as Park drilled two kills and Nadia Rouse served up an ace, getting West Holmes within 21-17, but it would get no closer as the Braves would close things out with a kill from Tschudy.

“We were really inconsistent all night long,” West Holmes coach Savannah Moore said. “I told the kids I couldn’t fault them for trying, especially when we got down. But there is no reason we should go from being up five to being down six.”

Moore said she felt the inexperience and youth of her team led to them becoming complacent when they forged leads. She said the hope is that the Lady Knights can develop some sense of urgency when it takes a lead and learn to put away a team when they have it on the ropes.

“It’s a little lack of maturity and experience,” Moore said. “We have to learn to take advantage of those kinds of situations. We did some good things at times, and we got some solid efforts from a lot of girls, but we have to develop more consistency to avoid those prolonged runs like we gave up tonight.”

Moore said she wasn’t totally discouraged and noted that her team simply needs to develop its passion and heart. She did add that in the four-game loss to Dover, her team really played inspired volleyball.

“We saw there what we can accomplish against a really good team,” Moore said. “We have now played two terrific teams that have really challenged us to get better. That is what we need right now to keep improving.”

Indian Valley head coach Tara Pryor has seen her team come storming out of the gate early with a pair of wins, and that has been driven by her offensive firepower that returns all of the main hitters and setter Reagan Love from last season.

“We still have plenty of things to work on, but I think our ability to move the ball around and go to a lot of different weapons will make us tougher to defend,” Pryor said.

Pryor went on to say that while her team responded well to falling behind early, it marked a very different picture than she saw this summer, where her team was the one giving up big leads.

“It was pretty bad this summer,” Pryor said of her team’s inability to hold leads. “We talked a great deal about not allowing teams to go on runs to put us in a hole and about staying on top when we get there. We were able to do that tonight.”

Pryor said having played West Holmes twice last season, she knew stopping first-team All-Ohioan Lauren Park would be the key. They didn’t shut her down, but the Braves were able to somewhat limit the damage Park did.

“We definitely kept a close eye on her throughout the night,” Pryor said. “I thought overall we played pretty good volleyball against a great program.”

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