NH unable to stop Mitchell in opener
The North Harrison Lady Cats found themselves on the outside looking in after their first-round Salem Volleyball Sectional match against Mitchell. Mitchell stunned North Harrison in four games.
When the two teams took their warm-up periods, Mitchell came out quiet with an unimpressive session that made the Lady Bluejackets appear not so ready to play. North Harrison, meanwhile, came out noisy and appearing ready for the match to begin. When the first serve came, however, the switch flipped and Mitchell came out pounding and the Lady Cats lost on the floor.
‘I stayed in the gym while (Mitchell) was warming up, and Mitchell barely peeped a word while they were warming up,’ North Harrison coach Wes Briscoe said. ‘Our girls hit the floor; we were talking the whole time during warm-ups. We were focused. We were screaming and hollering, getting ourselves pumped up, and I think maybe we psyched ourselves out.’
The Lady Cats were flat in the first two games, and Mitchell took advantage, grabbing the early lead in game one and pushing to a 15-9 advantage. Deanna Whittinghill gave the Lady Cats a boost late in the game with three straight kills, pulling North Harrison within four, but a Lady Cat error gave the game to Mitchell in a 25-20 loss.
North Harrison seemed to have its game together in game two, going up 8-4, but Mitchell pushed back to go ahead 11-10 on a Lady Cat hitting error. North Harrison led again at 14-13 and went on to lead by four, 18-14, following a tip by Savannah Martin. The Lady Cats led until late in the game when Devon Hardman killed twice and Amanda Trambaugh tipped for a 24-23 Mitchell lead. Allison Trevithick tipped for the game-winner, and the Lady Blue Jackets were up by two games.
‘The start of the first game was, we basically didn’t put the ball on the floor. Mitchell forced us to play defense really hard,’ Briscoe said. ‘When we came out, I thought we were moving our feet. Those points, I guess, it shocked us a little bit because we had to work so hard. It’s sectional volleyball. Nobody wants to go down. Maybe that zapped us from the beginning because our hitters didn’t get the ball down on the ground the first game.’
It appeared it was going to be all over for the Lady Cats in the third game as Mitchell took a 9-2 lead. This time, however, North Harrison would make the big rally, closing to within two following kills by Wynn Shroyer and Caitlyn Janes. North Harrison tied at 21, 23 and 24, and Whittinghill put the last two kills away for the 26-24 win.
The two teams swapped the lead early in the fourth, then Mitchell took over, going ahead 13-8. The Lady Cats stayed close but failed to get quite the push they needed to get over the top as Mitchell took the 25-21 win to advance to the semi-finals.
‘We couldn’t play defense the way we needed to all night long in order to win,’ Briscoe said. ‘They just forced us to have to move and run after balls because we reached instead of moving our feet first. The game plan was really simple, but we didn’t stick to it.’
Angela Cassabella led North Harrison (19-9) with 12 kills, and Shroyer and Janes each had 10 kills.
Hardman led Mitchell with 24 kills, and Trevithick added nine.
‘The way we prepared this week and the way we were when we got here, I thought we were ready to rewrite some history from last year,’ Briscoe said. ‘But it, unfortunately, didn’t go that way.’
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