Nevada Daily Mail
"We were definitely on the roller coaster tonight." Just about the only way anyone could describe the course of the evening Thursday when the Nevada Lady Tigers volleyball team and head coach Ashley Thoreson took to the courts at the Osage Prairie YMCA against Liberal was up and down like a roller coaster.
The Lady Tigers were able to pick up the victory in two sets by the final scores of 25-21 and 25-23, but it certainly wasn't in nearly as dominant fashion as some -- both on and off the Lady Tigers roster -- might have expected. Liberal went to the state tournament last year and took third place, but this year's roster has been severely depleted by injuries, leading Thoreson's squad to come into the night with what may have been a little too much confidence.
"I wasn't very happy with their play, overall," Thoreson said. "I mean, they still were able to come out with a win and, you know, finish the game, but we played pretty mental tonight."
Things looked grim for the Lady Tigers right from the start as they allowed Liberal to take a quick 4-1 lead with a string of missed serves and poor passes. Down 5-3, the Lady Tigers were ultimately about to seize control of the set with a 6-0 run, but the mistakes and unforced errors continued to play Nevada throughout the set and Liberal held on right until the end. By the time all was said and done, the Lady Tigers had to overcome six missed serves and a number of other unforced errors to hold on and win the set, 25-21.
"That's, by far, the most we've had all season," Thoreson said of her squad's first-set missed serves. "So, I mean, that was a surprise to me."
Things didn't get much better for Nevada in the second set and it looked as though Liberal would be able to force a decisive third set as the Lady Tigers saw Liberal go on a 7-0 run to take a 7-1 lead early in the set. Just a few points later, however, the Lady Tigers went on an 11-0 run to take a 15-10 lead.
From that point on, the relatively small crowd got into the match and carried the Lady Tigers through to a 25-23 victory.
"We had a great crowd tonight, which was awesome. I think the crowd was great, but it was still a quiet gym," Thoreson said. "And I think the girls were thinking they were just going to be able to feed off the crowd and instead, they had to bring the energy and then the crowd fed off of them."
Sharla Quick seemed to be just about everywhere on the court throughout the night, giving the Lady Tigers what would be near team-highs in kills with four and digs with eight. s Regan Kannady, however, just outdid Quick with six kills and Bree Reppert recorded a team-high nine digs -- just one ahead of Quick -- while Morgan McNeley served three aces.
"I have some pretty scrappy girls that I can usually count on to, you know, take charge out there," Thoreson said. "The problem is getting them all to make sure that they are playing their position and doing their job."
Things didn't go quite as well for the Lady Tiger freshmen on the night as they lost to Liberal in three sets by the final scores of 25-8, 25-15 and 15-7, with Liberal taking the first and third sets. The junior varsity squad had far more success, taking a two-set sweep by the final scores of 25-17 and 25-12.
The Lady Tigers are now set to take yet another weeklong break before coming back to Nevada Middle School to take on Webb City, but Thoreson said the next week certainly won't be a time of relaxation.
"We definitely have some work to do these next couple practices and we'll be good to go," she said.