Warren volleyball rolls past Villa on Pink Out night
Don’t look now, but the Warren volleyball team is starting to hit its stride.
After a 1-4 start to the season, the Dragons have won six of their last seven, including four straight following a 25-19, 25-19 and 25-14 sweep over visiting Villa Maria Tuesday.
“We went through some growing pains last year too,” Warren coach Mike Dolan said. “We just had a little more this year, but we’re starting to find ourselves.”
That was apparent from the get-go as Warren (7-5 overall, 6-3 Region 6) jumped out to a 6-1 lead to start the first set. Villa (6-6, 4-5) climbed its way back in and took a 9-8 lead. A Hannah Shattuck kill and Olivia English ace put the Dragons back on top, 10-9, and they wouldn’t trail again. Lex Nyquist served up an ace and Halee Mineweaser put down a kill to push the advantage to 15-10. Jordan Sitler had a kill, Grace Wortman a block and Katie Madigan an ace to make it 19-13. The Victors rallied again to trim the deficit to two at 19-17, but the Dragons held them to just two points the rest of the way to take a 1-0 match lead.
“We’re working well together,” Wortman said. “We’re finding our groove and improving each game.”
The teams traded the lead through the early part of the second set until Warren grabbed a 7-6 advantage on a Wortman ace. The Victors immediately tied, but kills by English and Sitler and an English ace put the Dragons up 10-7 and forced the Victors to spend a timeout. Sitler put down a kill on the next point to push the lead to four. Warren got a friendly bounce on the next point. English served and Villa tried for a kill. Warren got the dig, but the ball went into the rafters and slowly bounced its way down, almost like it was playing its own version of Plinko. When it finally dropped, the Dragons were able to return it over the net and eventually won the point for a 12-7 lead.
Villa answered with three straight points, but Warren responded with a 5-0 run to go up 17-10. The Victors got back within four at 22-18, but a service error gave it back to the Dragons. Sitler put a kill just inside the back corner on set point to give Warren a 2-0 match lead.
“Villa is a good team,” Dolan said. “They’re big and they’ve been winning some big games lately. I thought we played well. Our offense had good, effective swings.”
Sitler started the third with a big kill and Wortman had a pair of kills to put the Dragons on top, 3-2. Warren looked as though it was starting to pull away, but Villa rallied to tie the set at 7-7. Sitler and Shattuck had back-to-back kills to regain the lead and the Dragons methodically pulled away. Nyquist’s ace capped the 4-0 run. Mineweaser, Wortman and Sitler all had kills as Warren went on a 5-0 run to make it 16-8. English had a kill and a block on consecutive points to put the Dragons ahead, 19-10. Villa got a point to make it 20-11, then English sandwiched
The Dragons were strong from the service line all match. English had four aces, Nyquist three and Meredith Morrison two.
“We try to focus on serve and pass,” Dolan said. “If we can score points directly off the serve, that’s huge for us.”
Sitler led the attack with 12 kills. English added eight kills, two digs and two blocks. Wortman continued to swing strong from the outside with eight kills. She also added five digs and two blocks.
“It’s just clicking right now,” Wortman said.
Madigan had 25 digs and two assists, while Nyquist had 29 assists, 12 digs and two kills.
Villa won the junior varsity match, 25-16 and 25-13.
Morrison had six digs and two kills, while Carly Beers, Cara Munksgard and Jayna Baldensperger had two kills each. Ellee Irwin had five digs and Lauren Dolan had eight assists.