Former NH student on mind of Lady Cats
‘Some things are more important than volleyball.’
That’s what North Harrison High School volleyball coach Wes Briscoe said after his team fought through a five-game rumble before losing to visiting Borden last Tuesday night.
The team was playing through one of the worst adversities. Earlier in the day, they had learned of the death of James (Ryan) Shawver, a 2007 NHHS graduate, who was killed in an vehicle crash near Shoals earlier in the day while returning from a friend’s funeral. Shawver was well known by many of the players on the team, Briscoe said.
‘The North Harrison Community schools’ family, with what happened today, it was kind of hard to gear yourself up and play, when you lose somebody that’s close to you like some of the girls did,’ Briscoe said. ‘I just told them I admired their courage and their heart because they really did play that way. I think that … because we weren’t mentally all here in the building, it got us into some bad situations and we couldn’t pull things through.’
North Harrison struggled early as Borden ran out to an 11-5 lead in game one. Wynn Shroyer and Briann Kiesler led a counter-offensive midway through the game, and the Lady Cats tied the game at 14. From that point on, it was a slugfest before Borden held on for a 25-22 win.
The Lady Cats bounced back in game two, with Shroyer drilling three straight service aces as North Harrison took an 8-2 advantage. North Harrison found its game and continued the attack, with Angela Cassabella, Kiesler and Deanna Whittinghill punching holes in the Borden defense for a 16-4 lead. The Lady Cats’ momentum continued through for a 25-10 win.
Errors by the Lady Cats allowed the Lady Braves to take a 9-4 lead in game three. Cassabella and Janes killed to pull North Harrison within three. Shroyer slapped in a shot from the back row, and Cassabella killed again, shrinking the Borden lead to two. Borden made three straight errors, and Megan Scharrer aced twice on serve to give North Harrison a 13-11 lead. Borden bounced back to lead 17-16 and held on from there for the 25-23 win.
‘We had quite a few blocking errors, and we had some out-of-position issues with the setter,’ Briscoe said. ‘The blocking was a big thing. I think in game three, where they pulled it out by two, I think we had seven or eight blocking errors. Had we not had those, those were blocks where our blockers actually put the ball straight down.’
North Harrison exploded to an 11-2 lead in game four and was never challenged, winning 25-10.
In game five, the Lady Cats took a 4-1 lead, but Andrea Rademacher and Jordan Cook pounded in kills, pulling the Lady Braves within one.
Rademacher tied the game at five with a kill, then North Harrison erred as Borden took a 6-5 lead. Chelsea Craddock found the sideline on an errant shot to put Borden up by two. North Harrison came back to tie twice, but the Lady Cats made four errors in Borden’s final five-point run, leading to the Lady Braves’ 15-11 win.
‘We had a great game two and game four,’ Briscoe said. ‘We beat them 25-10 both games, which shows when we were able to focus on volleyball tonight, we were able to accomplish a lot of good things. For the most part, we played really excellent ball.’
Shroyer led North Harrison with 16 kills and three service aces. Janes followed with 10 kills and four aces, and Whittinghill had six kills. Kiesler had five kills and four aces, and Cassabella had five kills. Scharrer had four kills. As a team, North Harrison misfired 46 times hitting and missed on 13 service attempts, but the Lady Cats did slap in 19 aces.
‘Janes has just really developed into a fabulous player,’ Briscoe said. ‘Her freshman and sophomore years, I wouldn’t have thought about sticking her in the back row to play, but she’s developed into a nice all-around player. She’s developed a jump serve, and she’s co-captain on the team this year. She’s got herself in excellent shape physically. She’s a multi-sport athlete, and that in itself is going to help her in all the sports. It’s made her a heck of a volleyball player, and she really clobbered it.’
Briscoe said Scharrer gives the team a solid seventh player.
Bethany Burrier led Borden with eight kills and two aces, and Rademacher had five kills.
‘We were out of position a couple of times,’ Briscoe said. ‘We were having a hard time picking up their hitters for some reason.’
Briscoe said he expects his team to bounce back from the 0-3 start.