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The Kane Lady Wolves edged St. Marys Area 3-2 in an exciting volleyball match at the Dutch Oven on Thursday evening. The game featured several momentum shifts, with the Lady Wolves winning the first set 25-15, the Lady Dutch taking the next two games 25-23 and 25-21, respectively, and then Kane coming back to win it with scores of 25-13 and 15-8 in the fourth and fifth sets.
"Overall we were pleased with our performance, even with the loss," said St. Marys Area coach Erica Vogt. "We always tell our girls they're playing well, and that's what we want, a good solid game, because volleyball is a game of errors."
St. Marys went up 5-1 to start the first game, but then the Lady Wolves fought back, eventually going up 8-6 behind the serving of Emily Hauser. After St. Marys was unable to return the volley off of their next serve, Audrey Perry put the Lady Wolves up 12-7. The two teams would then keep trading serves, with Hauser eventually taking back over with Kane up 21-14. They rode her serving to a 24-15 advantage before turning the serve back over to St. Marys' Brittney Tarle. Despite a good effort, the Lady Dutch were unable to keep the volley going, giving Kane the 25-15 first-set victory.
"We absolutely had the momentum in the first game, taking a nice 12-6 lead and then we just kind of jinked around with some points until we got to 19-13, and then we just pretty much finished it off," said Kane coach Judy Kessler. "I felt like we were really in control of that first game. Audrey (Perry) had probably half her kills in just that first game."
The momentum shifted to the Lady Dutch in the second set, as the teams traded the lead five times en route to St. Marys' 25-23 win. Neither team trailed by more than three points at any point in the set. After taking over the lead 8-7 behind the serve of Tarle, St. Marys would maintain their advantage until Kane went up 21-19 on Perry's serving. The Lady Dutch would knot things up at 22-all on an ace by Kristen Anderson and eventually took a 24-23 lead before turning the serve over to Kane's Katelyn Moran. On Moran's first serve, the Lady Wolves ended the volley by failing to send the ball over the net, giving the Lady Dutch the 25-23 win.
"The second game was more of a back-and-forth battle, and I think that we kind of let down at the beginning. We had a little bit of trouble keeping the ball in front of us and passing the ball," Kessler said. "But, to give St. Marys credit, I don't know what their record is, but I know they only have a few wins, and it kind of puzzles me how they only have a few wins because she (Vogt) really does have a lot of talented hitters."
St. Marys would keep their momentum going in the third set, pulling out to a 9-4 lead behind the serving of Kiana Hoohuli. The Lady Dutch would go on to take their biggest lead of the set on Taylor Bellina's serving, stretching their advantage to 17-8 on an ace. Kane would rally back behind Nicole Sicher, closing the game to 21-17, and then after the teams traded serves, would close the gap to 21-20 on Hauser's serving. With Tarle serving for St. Marys, the Lady Dutch extended their advantage to 24-21, and on Kane's next serve the Lady Wolves let the ball hit the ground, giving St. Marys the 25-21 win.
"In the third game, my kids just kind of went flat," Kessler said. "But in their defense, we were down 19-11 and they made a great comeback."
Kane jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the fourth set behind Sicker's serving, and the Lady Wolves would stretch that lead to 13-4 on the serve of Perry. St. Marys was able to cut the deficit slightly, cutting Kane's lead to 15-8 with an ace by Anderson. Kane went up 21-11 on Morgan Nicholson's serve, gained another point as the ensuing St. Marys serve went out of bounds, and picked up yet another point on an ace by Sicker. With the score 24-13, the Lady Wolves were able to take the 25-13 win on a kill by Nicholson.
"I feel like we pretty much controlled the fourth game as well with our attacking," Kessler said. "Our middles were attacking the ball well and we were playing better defense, digging the ball better and holding our passes better."
The fifth set started out close, with Kane taking a slim 5-3 lead on Sicker's serving. They would eventually stretch that advantage to 11-7 behind Shannon Kocjancic, and go up 14-8 behind Moran. With Helena Hanes serving for St. Marys, the Lady Dutch return went out of bounds, handing Kane the 15-8 set victory and the 3-2 win in the match.
"Once we got on that roll, I didn't really think that St. Marys would be able to come back from that," Kessler said.
"St. Marys made us play our better ball," she added. "When we didn't play our best ball, they got a lot of points on us."
Following the match, Vogt remarked that Katie McFadden received the game ball for the Lady Dutch because "she was on, she was moving, she was hustling."
"She got the job done any way she could," Vogt said.
Vogt added that her squad did well overall.
"My offense is usually pretty strong, and we weren't necessarily super-strong tonight, but we were smart," Vogt said.
She indicated that Taylor Bellina, in particular, had a number of good serves for the Lady Dutch, as well as good passing and defense. Brittany Tarle and Kristen Anderson also had a number of good blocks and smart play at the net, she said.
"If we can continue at this rate, I think we should end well with the season," Vogt said.
For the Lady Wolves, Audrey Perry finished the night with 13 kills, two blocks, and five aces. Morgan Nicholson had 11 kills and a block. Nichole Sicker had five aces and three kills, and setter Katelyn Moran also had a really good night with some nice jump setting, according to Kessler.