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Seniors Wortman, Nyquist honored; Dragons stay hot with sweep of North East

Warren Area High School senior Lex Nyquist sets the ball to teammate Olivia English during the first set of the Dragons’ Senior Night contest against North East. Nyquist and fellow senior Grace Wortman were honored before what was a 3-0 win for the home team.

Shortly after they walked off the floor following their 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-19) win over North East, Warren seniors Grace Wortman and Lex Nyquist got treated to a rousing chorus of ‘thank you seniors’ from their Flannel Panel classmates.

It was an appropriate tribute on Senior Night, given what both have meant to what has been an incredible run for Warren volleyball during their four years.

“It’s a great feeling, but it’s sad too,” Nyquist said. “You never think it’s going to be your senior year until it actually happens.”

What has happened on the court has been something to behold, as the Dragons, following a slow start to the season, have rattled off five consecutive victories to move to 8-5 overall.

“We just keep building momentum off of each game,” Wortman said.

Warren senior Grace Wortman gets a hug during Senior Night festivities.

Against a solid North East team, every facet of the Dragons’ game was operating at a high-level.

Nyquist set the tone for the offense, as they took control in the first set, 15-10, after kills from Olivia English and Jordan Sitler. It was Sitler who closed out the first set with a kill.

“I thought our offense looked good again,” said Warren coach Mike Dolan.

While the offense was clicking, the defense was in fine form as well, led by Katie Madigan, who finished with 38 digs.

The Dragons never trailed in game two, going up 15-9 on a Sitler kill. Nyquist did a great job getting the ball to the hitters, and kills from Wortman and Hannah Shattuck helped close out the second.

Warren’s Hannah Shattuck goes up for a kill attempt against North East on Thursday. The Dragons rolled to their fifth consecutive win.

“I thought our defense played really well again,” Dolan said. “Our blocking was strong. That’s always something we can keep improving on.”

Warren never trailed in the third, either.

Back-to-back kills from Halee Mineweaser and Wortman made it 8-3, and another Wortman kill made it 11-4, prompting a North East timeout.

That didn’t do much to stop the Warren onslaught, as the Dragons were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

“That was a good non-region game for us to play,” Dolan said.

And then, of course, there’s the matter of his two seniors, who have done so much both on and off the court.

“Those two seniors, what they’ve done is remarkable,” he said. “They both play at such a high-level and are such good leaders. The improvement that we’ve shown, their leadership plays a huge part in that.”

And both the seniors have noticed the improvement in their younger teammates, many of whom were stepping into major varsity roles for the first time this season.

“Every player has grown significantly through the season,” Wortman said. “It’s great to see all the hard work they’ve put in pay off.”

Added Nyquist: “We’re just encouraging and help them learn. Every individual person has had a contribution. Our sweep against Harbor Creek started it (winning streak). And of course the Flannel Panel helps.”

Madigan (38 digs, 2 aces), Sitler (12 kills), English (9 kills, 2 aces), Wortman (8 kills, 5 digs, 1 block), Mineweaser (2 kills, 3 digs, 1 ace), Shattuck (2 kills), Meredith Morrison (5 digs, 1 ace) and Nyquist (33 assists, 12 digs, 2 kills) led the winners.

Brianna King had 8 kills and Elizabeth Walker 13 digs to pace North East.

The Dragon JV team also came away victorious, 25-20, 20-25, 15-9.

Ellee Irwin (5 kills), Brooke Edwards (5 kills), Lexi Hoffman (4 kills), Lauren Dolan (17 assists), Jayna Baldensperger (4 kills) and Morrison (8 digs, 2 aces) led the Dragons.

“The level we’re playing at, we have to keep that going,” Dolan said. “We can sweep the second half and get the second seed from our region going into the playoffs. That’s our goal right now.”

They return to action on Saturday at the Cochranton Tournament.

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