The Garaway Lady Pirates volleyball team had its sights set on a very intriguing rematch with Ridgewood in the tournament trial. Before it got to the Generals, it had to deal with a pesky Newcomerstown team that would love nothing more than to spoil those plans.
When Garaway entered its tournament volleyball game with Newcomerstown Tuesday, Oct. 18, it had one thing in mind: Take care of business.
The higher seed that was a heavy favorite, Garaway knew it had to go out and ay the way it was capable of laying to put this one in the win column, and despite a gutsy effort by the Trojans, the Lady Pirates did what they set out to do in winning 25-18, 25-12, 25-14 to advance in the Div. III sectional.
“We did not want to take them lightly, but with the way they came out and played in that first set, it looked like maybe we did underestimate them,” said Garaway coach Sara Roach. “They were working hard and we were playing like we felt like we already had it. They were ready, but eventually we started to play more aggressively.”
Newcomerstown actually darted out to a 12-10 lead before Garaway rallied back, and to do that, they turned to their big banger, Allison Luneborg. The hard-hitting righty recorded seven kills in a 13-3 run that put Garaway ahead for good. But even then, Newcomerstown battled back to within 24-18 before a net serve ended the game.
Game two again saw Newcomerstown hanging around, trailing just 9-78. However, another big run, this one an 8-0 Garaway spurt, thrust the Lady Pirates into a commanding lead. This time it was ignited by the play of Amber Monigold and Emma Warkall, whose overall play sparked the run.
Game three saw the Trojans jump out to a 4-0 lead before Garaway reeled off four straight to tie it. Newcomerstown then score three times to forge a 7-4 edge, but it was all Garaway from there, as Samantha Putt and Jenna Walter began taking control. Leading 19-14, Garaway rattled off the final six points to win easily, with Walter providing some key contributions.
“We seemed to lose focus at times, and I can’t explain why we get out of sync and stop communicating,” Roach said. “But we played in stretches the way we are capable of playing. I think that we had a little bit of jitters because it was our first tournament game, even though it was on our home court.
“I thought Emma came out really focused and ready to lay tonight. She had an excitement to her game that looked like she was really ready to go.”
As for turning the game around with Newcomerstown trying to make a statement in game one, Roach said they turned to Luneborg and looked for her to deliver some knockout punches, which she did rather decisively.
“Our girls feed off of her play,” Roach said of Luneborg. “She is so good at getting those big hits and that really pumps our girls up. They see her taking charge and that effects everyone else, and they feed off of that energy.”
For the match, Warkall served up four aces and 13 points, while Luneborg collected 16 kills to go with eight service points. Putt added seven kills and eight service points, Walter hammered home nine, while adding nine service points and three blocks.
The victory improved Garaway to 16-7 on the year, and set up a winner-take-all rematch with Ridgewood. The two teams split during the regular season, with both contests going to five games.