WACO defeats Nikes, advances
BURLINGTON — The Warriors started it, and they finished it.
The in-between was a little bit messy, but ultimately, the WACO volleyball team walked away with a five-set regional win in last night’s match against Burlington Notre Dame.
“It shouldn’t have gone to five games,” WACO Coach Jay Coble said. “I don’t know if it was the side of the court or what.”
Each game of the first-round match was decided by five points or fewer.
WACO won the first game, 25-21. The Nikes tied the match with a 25-22 win in game two, but WACO came back with another 25-21 win in the third set.
The fourth set went to Notre Dame, 25-20, forcing game five — and WACO took that one, 15-11.
“We allowed it to go to five sets because of our serve receive,” Coble said. “They had some really good serving and we didn’t respond well to that.”
The Nikes had 17 aces in the match. They helped WACO out, however, by missing on 10 of their serves. WACO had 11 aces on the night.
In game one, WACO went up by as many as nine points, leading 20-11 after a serving run by Rosemary Skriver, with help from kills by Aaliyah Brown and Kalicia Miller.
The Warriors let the Nikes back in the game late, and they got as close as 24-21 before an Erika Leichty kill shut the door on the host team.
Notre Dame got a big lead in game two, going up 6-0 to start. The Warriors got within two points at 21-19, but couldn’t overtake the Nikes.
In game three, the Warriors took a 5-6 lead and Brown had four kills in WACO’s first six points. The Warriors didn’t allow the Nikes a lead in the rest of the game, holding them off for a 2-1 edge in the match.
Game four was a close one all the way through — the teams were tied seven times — but it ultimately went back the Nikes’ way, forcing a fifth set.
Middle hitters Miller and Bailey Graber came up with a few big kills each in the final set, and it was a block by Miller that ended the match.
“I think the key was just settling down, realizing what we had to do to push points at the end and get the win,” Skriver said. “We all got together, we got on the same page. We know people will step up and get the job done when needed.”
Skriver had two kills and some key serves in the final set.
“Rosemary (Skriver) had 12 kills on the night, and I thought she carried us at times,” Coble said.
Skriver also had a team-high 34 digs in the game. Brown led the team with 17 kills.
Leichty had nine kills, Graber added five and Miller contributed four.
Ashlyn Hammen had 36 assists.
Leichty had 26 digs and Katelyn White had 21. Hammen added 16.
Leah McElhinney was 20-for-23 serving with three aces. Skriver, Leichty and Graber had two aces each.
Notre Dame ends its season with a record of 14-19. WACO improves to 18-16, clinching its first winning season in five years.
“In my senior year, it’s great to have such a good season,” Skriver said. “But we wouldn’t be where we are without our coaches.”
Skriver is one of four seniors who spent their last season with coaches Jay Coble and Carrie Coble. Hammen, Graber and White are also seniors.
WACO will play their regional quarterfinal match against Class 1A No. 3 New London at New London on Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m.
“We’re going to have to do better with our serve receive against New London, or they’ll serve us off the floor,” Jay Coble said.
“New London’s always tough,” Skriver said. “We’ll look to play hard and try to catch them off guard on a few things. We’ll take what they give us and play our best.”