Lady Cats succumb to Silver Creek
Wade Bell, Sports Writer
The visiting Silver Creek Lady Dragons made it a tough night Thursday for North Harrison, getting an overwhelming, three-game sweep over the Lady Cats. Silver Creek was both stronger and quicker than the Lady Cats to keep North Harrison at bay all night long.
“We made a lot of errors that I think would have carried that first set,” said North Harrison coach Caitlyn Burson. “We did some really nice things. We came off of a really, really bad game yesterday (against Eastern Pekin), so it was a totally different team out there even though we lost, and I’m proud of the effort that they put in. They were playing as a group and playing for each other rather playing for individuals. So, that is an improvement.”
Silver Creek put the hammer down early exploding to an 8-1 lead in the first set. North Harrison gained a little bit of ground during the next few side-outs, but the Lady Dragons later ran their lead into double digits by controlling the net. At one point, Silver Creek led by as many as 13, 19-6, following a tip by Katie Hawkins. The Lady Dragons then made three errors, and Emma Schneider blocked for a kill. Bri Fawver aced on serve, and North Harrison pulled back within eight. That would not be enough, however, as the Lady Dragons went on for the 25-14 win.
In the second set, the two teams played cat-and-mouse through the opening points but then Bella Hinton ripped a pair of kills to start a 9-3 run to a Silver Creek lead, 14-7. The Lady Cats seemed to shut down at that point as Silver Creek had an 8-2 burst, going on to win the game 25-11.
“It was an improvement tonight, but it’s still playing for each other,” said Burson. “As a group instead of individuals, when we do that, we do really nice things. When we don’t, we struggle.”
The Lady Cats put up more of a fight in game three staying within three of the Lady Dragons through the first half of the set, playing to a 10-10 tie. The two teams traded punches through the next three side-outs, then Silver Creek finally took over, running off a 6-1 burst. Morgan Friedholdt got one of those back on a kill, then the Lady Dragons got called for a centerline violation.
Hinton drilled in three straight kills, and Kiki Brown added one for good measure. Silver Creek cruised the rest of the way through the game, and Riley Wickens killed for the final point and the 25-15 game and match win.
“We changed it up a little bit,” Burson said. “We were getting a lot of blocks out of Morgan, but we wanted to get a few more out of our middles so we changed the rotation a little bit. It worked for about the first half, but then we lost some confidence in the second.”
Friedholdt led the Lady Cats with seven kills for the night. The Lady Cats missed just two serves for the match and had two aces. North Harrison finished with 20 errors.
“Her timing was probably the best I’ve seen it all year,” Burson said of Friedholdt. “She had good timing last night and she improved on it tonight, so I hope she can continue to build on it as we continue through the season. When our block is working like that, our defense is working their butts off to get better and they’re doing a lot better job. It’s just when we don’t close that block that we struggle with our defense.”
Bella Hinton had a solid night for the Lady Dragons, punching in 17 kills. Anna Dablow finished with eight kills, and Abby Marks and Katie Hawkins had five and four kills, respectively. Silver Creek missed six serves and delivered five aces. The Lady Dragons finished with 23 errors.
“I’m just hoping they continue together and to maintain more positive attitudes so we can do that,” Burson said. “When one person starts to fall off, everybody else does. It can be any person any given night, so we’re just trying to work to really push and build. Whenever they play with confidence and when they hustle, they’re more together. I saw things that I liked. I saw glimpses of things I liked. It was just our errors we need to cut down on.”