Triway Titans

Triway can’t stop Park, but still win in four over West Holmes

Lauren Park rips a kill through Triway's Laney Kiper (22) and Halie Luc (13) in The Dungeon at WHHS. ---- Jonna Hall Photo

Triway head coach John Finn knew when his Triway Titans visited West Holmes they were not going to be able to stop the Lady Knights’ star Lauren Park. The Titans didn’t even contain Park who belted out 33 kills in smashing fashion, punishing the gym floor over and over against Triway on September 3.

Even with Park’s unworldly effort, the Titans ended up getting the best of the Lady Knights winning in four sets 23-25, 25-23, 25-19 and 25-19.

Earlier in the week Park set the school record for kills in a game at Madison with a whopping 40 in a five-set Lady Knights’ win. In four sets against Triway, Park had the 33 kills, but also dug out 20 balls and had six thunderous blocks.

“Lauren can dismantle a team,”said Finn.”She’s obviously a wonderful player. We are not in any position to stop her. We occasionally got a piece of a block, but she’s going to get her points.”

Park and the Lady Knights(4-3) were able to take game one, but fell behind 13-17 in each of the next three sets and were not able to comeback in any of them. First-year Lady Knights’ coach Savannah Moore said that the consistency in her team’s focus just isn’t up to par quite yet this season.

“Our biggest weakness right now is inconsistency,” said Moore. “It’s not lack of ability, it’s whether or not they want to give one hundred percentage every point.”

Falling behind in three straight sets and not being the first team to 15 points was a problem that Moore said the Lady Knights need to fix.

“I try to get them to focus on five small games to five,” Moore continued. “When you get to 5,10,15,20 and then 25 first, we win the set. It’s that simple. We joked a bit at Madison about me having to tell them that they had to win point 18. If I didn’t tell them, then they wouldn’t have been focused for that point. It’s a focus thing for us right now.”

The Titans(3-2) fell behind 5-1 to start the second set, but quickly rallied back to take over the lead 11-9 on a Mary Cornelius crush job. (video) Trailing 13-17 in set two the Lady Knights battled right back to tie it at 17 apiece and eventually the set would be tied at 23-23. However, it was the Titans this time that hung on and won the last two points for the tight win in set two, 25-23.

“We were fortunate to have the match tied at 1-1 and I told our girls that,” Finn said. “We won game two and then we had a chance to build from it and to our players credit we did. It’s a tall order to come back from 0-2. Plus, there’s a bit of an intimidation factor when you walk in this gym and see all those banners.”

In sets three and four, there were less dramatics as the Titans took early leads in both sets and won both in more convincing fashion. In set four the Lady Knights did battle back from being down 19-12 and got it to 20-16, but Laney Kiper wound up her left arm and mashed a kill to stop the West Holmes rally. (video)

Moore was hoping that the comeback win over Madison earlier in the week after being behind two sets to none was going to spur the Lady Knights on Saturday and keep the mojo rolling forward. That ended up not being the case.

“We didn’t carry the momentum from the comeback win earlier this week over to today,” Moore said. “And that’s frustrating, we just can’t keep playing in spurts.”

While West Holmes is still searching for the winning formula, Finn was happy with the win but also said his team has some things to improve on and didn’t play their best match on Saturday.

“When we pass and serve well we can hold our own with most teams,” said Finn. “We’ve established our identity already this season and played well against Tusky Valley and Tuslaw, but today I thought we struggled a bit with our passing.”

Triway’s Mary Cornelius stuffed the stat sheet for the Titans, recording 12 kills, 21 assists and 16 digs. Melanie Basinger was gold on the service line with 10 service points and did some digging too with 14. Zoe Carmichael also was swinging a heavy arm on Saturday finishing with 12 kills for the Titans.

Helping Park on West Holmes’ side of the net was Sarah Anderson who had 34 assists and eight digs. Emily Anderson had 14 digs and eight service points and Makena Mulhall played well at the net for the Lady Knights with five blocks.

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