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Lady Cats escape with ugly win

September 23, 2009
In a match that went beyond the word ugly, the North Harrison Lady Cats escaped at Lanesville Thursday in a three-game affair that left everybody on the visiting bench scratching their heads on what to do next.

North Harrison’s Angela Casabella dumps this shot past Lanesville’s Kelly Zollman, front, in game one of the Lady Cats’ three-game win. Photo by Wade Bell
"We dictate the entire pace of the game," Lady Cats coach Wes Briscoe said. "We dictate how we play, and we dictate how the other team plays. We dictate their success, because we like to give them as many points as possible. We had 41 errors, and they scored 64. We let them earn 23 points. They earned 23 points tonight, and we gave them the rest. That's exactly how we play every single game."

Lanesville stunned the Lady Cats by leading most of game one. Everything North Harrison threw at the Lady Eagles shot right back at them and a bump that dropped into an open Lady Cat hole gave Lanesville a 15-10 lead.

While North Harrison tried to get back in it, Emily Fulkerson drilled a service ace and Kelly Zollman blocked for a kill, keeping the Lanesville lead at four. The Lady Eagles then had a breakdown with four straight hitting errors, moving the game into an 18-all tie. The Lady Cats didn't break away till Lanesville misfired on serve and Deidre Book dropped in a kill for a 22-20 lead.

But that wasn't enough. Halle Jacobi struggled at the net, and Lanesville rallied to take a 24-23 lead. Book tied the game with a tip, and a Lanesville error put the Lady Cats back in front. Ties came again at 25, 26 and 27. Lanesville finally misstepped, with three errors, as the Lady Cats got the 29-27 win.

"The first game, I don't understand how we could come out flat," Briscoe said. "As far as I knew coming into this, Lanesville had not won a match, and we made them look like they've been playing well all season. I didn't know anything about them going into it except their middle and their setter (were) pretty athletic. We came out not like we're getting ready."

Lanesville stayed with the Lady Cats early in game two, but North Harrison finally began to find a rhythm, and three kills gave the Lady Cats a 7-3 advantage. Midway through the game, things began to unravel for the Lady Eagles, and back-to-back kills by Caitlyn Janes gave North Harrison a 20-10 advantage. Lanesville did manage to gain some ground back, as an Ashley Schoen kill and Karen Green service ace closed the gap to five, 23-18. The Lady Cats, however, went on to earn a 25-18 win.

"In the second game, we're doing good things, and even back to the first game, Caitlyn makes those two big saves, and I'm tickled to death," Briscoe said. "But we're not putting balls away. We're in a good situation that, hopefully, these errors will get cut down and we'll continue to win matches instead of they continue to pile up and we get on the losing end of all this."

It looked like North Harrison was going to run away with the third game as the Lady Cats raced to a 9-2 lead, but the Lady Eagles had little to say about that, the gap closing to three, at 11-8, on a misfire by Jacobi. Jacobi redeemed herself on the next play, and the Lady Cats got some momentum to push the lead to seven.

A Lanesville ace by Fulkerson closed the gap to three again, at 17-14. Kills by Briann Kiesler and Angela Casabella gave the momentum back to North Harrison, who went on to win the game and match, 25-19, with Megan Scharrer delivering the winning kill.

"Volleyball is completely a game of emotion and momentum," Briscoe said. "If you can get any of that on your side, you're going to be in good shape. Right now, we don't even understand when we have it, which stinks. Vicky Summer had four or five points in a row, and we gave them all right back to Lanesville."

Casabella and Janes finished with six kills each, and Jacobi followed with five. North Harrison missed eight serves but only had three aces.

"We have kids that should be at the point where they're ready to get things going again and past this," the North Harrison coach said. "Early in the year, we weren't having a problem with errors, but usually you run in spurts like this. We're in a real long epic. We're winning these matches and not losing, so we're thankful for that. We're getting good play sporadically from different players, but we're not getting consistency from six players on the floor, right now. It's a good thing we've got another month to get that figured out."

Kayla Smith and Zollman led Lanesville with four kills each. The Lady Eagles missed 11 serves and had six service aces. Errors also plagued Lanesville, who made 36.

"We're not motivated to do a whole lot," Briscoe said of his team. "I guess it's a good problem to have in that we're making a load of errors and we're still finding a way to win matches. It would be different if we were making all these errors and we're losing every time we're stepping out on the floor. I don't even know where the morale would be on the team."

"Maybe we need to go work on the most complicated offensive system I know about," Briscoe said. "That way they can't think about everything else. … The girls have got a lot of heart and have been working hard, and they're just as tired of it as I am."

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