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Lady Cats bow to Borden in five

September 03, 2008
"Some things are more important than volleyball."

That's what North Harrison 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 Ryan Shawver, a 2007 graduate of the school, who was killed in an auto accident 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.

North Harrison's Angela Cassabella has this spike blocked by Borden's Crystal Lackey in game three of the Lady Cats' five-game loss. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"The North Harrison's 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 they're heart because they really did play that way. I think that in the situations that we were in the match, 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 Cat 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, the Borden lead shrinking 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. But if our girls weren't in the net, it was a different story and we're out of here in four. I can second guess a lot of things that were going on and not really have a good answer because of everything else."

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, the Lady Braves getting the 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.

"Kiesler had her best night so far for the season as far as serve-receive and attacking," Briscoe said. "She missed both of her serves in the fifth game tonight. Before that, she was putting a lot of balls in.

"Janes has just really developed into a fabulous player. 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. They weren't stopping her when she was swinging."

Briscoe said Scharrer gives the team a solid seventh player.

"Megan, we're still trying to find a good role for her on the team," he said. "She played a real big role for us last year. Cassabella was out with a knee injury, and she really stepped in. Now, Angela is back, and now, we're just trying to find a place to make her a home. Her first couple of matches she was actually leading us in aces. When we went to New Albany, she stepped back and had four aces in that match. Right now, she's like an accidental serving specialist, a happy accident at that."

Bethany Burrier led Borden with eight kills and two aces, and Rademacher had five kills. Erin Mikel followed with four kills. Borden had 39 errors and missed just five serves for the match. The Lady Braves had just three service aces, however.

"We were out of position a couple of times," Briscoe said. "We were having a hard time picking up their hitters for some reason. They (Borden) really only swung with two hitters all night. They ran their offense pretty much on their two middle hitters. I thought their offense was pretty predictable. They ran a slow, throw it up and let the middle go get it. We really couldn't pick that up."

Briscoe said he expects his team to bounce back from the 0-3 start.

"We're learning to play with each other," he said. "If anybody gives her a look, Wynn's an all-state candidate somewhere in the top 40 in volleyball. She's got to go somewhere in there. When you center a team around that, we should be able to go places."

"This is the first time we've started the season 0-3, so it's kind of frustrating, but we're fighting a lot of things through the tragedy that happened today that really affected a lot of girls," Briscoe said. "I thought they did a pretty good job handling it."

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