Many of the pre-season questions of how coach Kelsey Wulf’s Evergreen Vikings would handle the loss of a powerful senior class that was a mainstay in a triplicate of NWOAL volleyball titles were answered as the Vikes opened with a 25-19, 25-23, 25-13 sweep of Northern lakes League foe Maumee Tuesday.
“Overall we were OK,” explained Wulf. “We had some instances, especially in game two where we had some issues in communication and errors but we battled back. I knew we were short this year, we lost a lot of height and a lot of strength that went with a number of All-District 7 and All-NWOAL players. We’re going to have to fight for every single point.”
That analogy was apparent in the first set when with the Vikings down 9-6, senior Lexie Shipman dug out a Panther spike and after Hannah Herr went horizontal to keep the ball in play, Megan Floyd rammed home a kill that sparked a 10-0 Evergreen run.
Shipman scored off the tape, Lindsay Carr nailed two from the left side, Cece Silvestri dropped a service ace before Carr finished the onslaught with a change up tip to give Evergreen a 16-9 lead.
Maumee countered with a Breanna Demers ace but Carr again tipped through a double block, Shipman scored on a solo block and an athletic left-handed redirect to help the Vikes boost their advantage to 21-11 before coasting to the first set win.
Mistake after mistake followed for both teams in the second set and Maumee got the biggest benefit, rolling out to a 15-10 lead.
Kori Kreuz’ block and Carr’s hit from the left that rode the net chopped that lead to 18-17 but a pair of Viking miscues and back-to-back aces by Ariel Moore got the Panthers back up 22-17.
That’s when Bailie Sutter scored from the left side, two Maumee hitting errors followed, Floyd scored from the left after a long rally and a Panther hit that went out tied the score.
After another extended volley, Shipman hammered a shot from the middle that found all wood to give the Vikings the lead. Then, after alternating hitting errors, Carr finished the second set, blasting a winner from the left side.
“I’m really proud of Lindsay and Lexie,” said Wulf of her two seniors who missed the entire 2015 season because of injury. “After being off that long and recovering from ACL tears they did a really good job. Not just making plays but leadership as well. They both have a presence on the court and I think the other girls feed off that and their energy.”
The Vikings were in total control of set three as they never trailed.
The Vikings travel to Ayersville on Monday and host Bryan Tuesday.
Joe Blystone can be reached at email@example.com