The NCHS volleyball team moved up to third in the Wyopreps 2A top five coaches/media poll last week but will certainly fall out after conference losses to Pine Bluffs and Southeast. Lusk had an opportunity to exorcise some demons against their SEWAC rivals but with Homecoming activities, the Lady Tigers were clearly not focused enough.
Friday against the #5 Lady Hornets, Lusk took the early lead at 9-5 and seemed to be on track as the lead grew to 14-9. A PB timeout set the visitors right at the net. They used their size and talent to thwart many NCHS kill attempts and after taking the17-16 lead, edged out to a 25-20 first set win. Again in the second set the Lady Tigers took an advantage at 11-7 but seemed intimidated with the PB ability to block at the net. The Lady Hornets went up 17-14 and on to the 25-17 win. In the third set Lusk was trying to keep the match alive and kept it close at ten apiece. PB hit another gear as they went on to the sweep with a 25-15 win. Said head coach Sandra Johnson, “Our kill percentage was one of our worst of the season.”
NCHS TEAM STATS: Serving- 48/50, 3 aces. 17 kills/89 atts, 19 percent. 15 assists. 2 blocks. 50/98 digs.
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Serving- Amanda Smith 11/11; Ashley Christianson 9/9; Taylor Gaukel 9/9; Emma Ceaglske 5/5. Kills- Smith 6. Assists- Christianson 9; Ceaglske 5. Digs- Gaukel 11, Trisha Hales 10.
Saturday against the #4 Lady Cyclones, it was figured that taking a conference split over the weekend would be alright and not too harmful for regional seeding. But again the Lady Tigers came out slow as the visitors were ahead 8-2 in a blink. NCHS never really challenged as the lead became 17-6 before the 25-9 win. The teams battled tightly and Gaukel had the Lady Tigers in position with two serves to go up 23-21, and Hales spiked one to get within one point of tying the match. A brief lapse found Lusk on the short end of a 26-24 second set- and very near a second straight sweep at the hands of a conference foe.
NCHS stormed out early in the third set with a 6-1 lead that became 12-3 and Smith’s kill pushed it to 15-7 forcing a SE timeout. It wasn’t enough as Lusk won the set 25-12. The momentum kept flowing for Lusk in the fourth set as a comeback seemed possible. The lead was 11-2 before Smith reeled off five service points in a row and the home team tied the match with a 25-15 fourth set win.
All that momentum vanished fast as the Lady Cyclones went ahead 6-0 in about three minutes and won the deciding set 15-6. NCHS falls to 2-2 in conference play, but is still 15-4 on the season.
NCHS TEAM STATS: Serving 81/86, 6 aces. 33 kills/112 atts, 29 pct. 28 assists. 10 blocks. 61/99 digs.
NCHS PLAYER STATS: Serving- Christianson 13/13; Gaukel 12/12; Smith 21/23; Miranda Gilkey 19/20; Ceaglske 11/12. Kills- Hales 11; Gaukel 9; Smith 7; Reygan Molzahn 5. Assists- Christianson 20; Ceaglske 7. Digs- Gaukel 17; Hales 10.
The JV and C squad also had full weekends and struggled in conference play as well. The JV lost to PB (25-14 and 25-23) and SE (25-13 and 25-15) while the C-squad was able to win a set each day. PB won in three (26-24, 20-25 and 25-21) and on Saturday SE won 25-21, 18-25 and 25-16.
Lusk gets a fast turnaround with PB as they head to the Hornet’s Nest for a Friday shot at redemption. C-squad begins at 3 p.m. with JV and varsity to follow. On Saturday Glenrock comes to Lusk for three games starting at 1 p.m.