Volleyball

Lady P’s get the best of Lady Knights in 4

Lady P's rally to defeat Lady Knights in 4

Coming into their volleyball contest, West Holmes and Garaway were a pretty good match-up on paper.

For three games the visiting West Holmes Lady Knights and host Garaway Lady Pirates went at it tooth-and-nail as they battled for a win on Saturday, Sept. 8 in Sugarcreek.

Then Garaway turned up the heat and ran away with game four to secure a 24-26, 25-23, 25-20, 25-8 victory to move to 5-2 on the year.

“I thought for the most part we did a nice job of sticking to our game plan and doing the things we needed to do to get a win,” Garaway head coach Jess Schwartz said.

West Holmes charged out to an early four-point lead as Colista Gamertsfelder and Regan Wilcox got the Lady Knights ahead. The lead ranged everywhere from two to five points until West Holmes surged ahead 23-16 late. However, leading 24-17, Garaway began chopping away as Kori Gutheridge, Andi Starner and Brooklyn Frey helped earn points to draw the Lady P’s even at 24. However, a Garaway error and Chloe Roach’s perfectly placed shot down the left sideline lifted West Holmes to victory in game one.

Even having lost, Schwartz said the late comeback got her team going.

“That was big just to give us some confidence in the idea that we could chip away at them,” Schwartz said. “I think that gave us a little momentum.”

Game two was a complete opposite as it would be Garaway working its way out to a nice lead, led by Frey and Brooke Werker. Garaway seemed like it was in complete command until Megan Jones started hammering away, making a couple of key blocks for scores and adding a pair of hits, helping the Lady Knights creep to within one at 23-22. However, Gutheridge was able to put one away to help the Lady P’s hang on for the win.

Game three saw a back-and-forth tilt as the two teams traded punches trying to capture the pivotal game three that often turns the tide one way or the other. Leading 20-19, it would be Garaway that would find the magic elixir, scoring five of the final six points, several on unforced errors from West Holmes, to earn the 25-20 win.

That momentum seemed to inspire Garaway and cause West Holmes to wilt, and the Lady Pirates took advantage as freshman Laiken Wallick served up a storm and Gutheridge and Frey stayed hot.

The game got out of hand quickly, and senior Caitlyn Miller finished things off with a kill and an easy win, a game that was certainly not the norm compared to the prior three.

“I think what I really liked was that we had some younger kids step up in big moments and deliver,” Schwartz said. “I see Laiken dominating at the service line. I thought we served the ball really well, and we showed a lot of heart out there today, which is great for our younger kids to see and experience. It is really refreshing to see how our seniors have stepped up to lead this group, and watching Kori play so well was great for her and for us. I also felt like our front row net play was much improved, and we did a good job blocking, and that took some of the pressure off of our back row.”

“I think the word would be disappointment,” West Holmes head coach Sydney Mast said. “We dropped a tough one on Thursday, and since that was a five-set match, I gave them the day off yesterday. We had a little serve pass this morning that went really well, and even in the first set we played hard and played aggressive, but then we crumbled again. We can go out and play hard and aggressive for one set, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t do that for all of them.”

Mast went on to note that her team’s wild inconsistency has been baffling as they continue to try to find an identity. She said one game they play great, and they continue to show signs, but they haven’t figured out how to put it all together.

“I’m at a loss,” Mast said. “It is down to them wanting it, it is down to them being aggressive and playing with passion, and it is down to them playing to win instead of playing to lose, and the last two sets today were like that for us.”

Mast also had high praise for the Lady Pirates, speaking glowingly of senior do-it-all Emma Warkall.

“Garaway is a really good team. They are very scrappy, and [Warkall] is a really nice player,” Mast said. “She is their best player, and she can look to score at any opportunity, and she took advantage of us not staying on top of her.”

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