Source: Ben Spicer - Daily TimesTaylor Cantrell talks about Addi Newman and Mollie Ferrar in Northwest’s 3-1 win over West.
The seasons of two schools were at stake on Tuesday night at Northwest High School, as the Mohawks played the Portsmouth West Senators in a volleyball district tournament game.
In an incredibly competitive four set match, Northwest prevailed 3-1 over West. (21-25, 25-14, 25-20, 25-20)
A district tournament win wasn’t the only thing the Mohawks accomplished, though.
Senior Mollie Ferrar reached her 1,000th career assist early in the match, adding to the excitement of the evening for Northwest.
“I’m just super excited,” Ferrar said about the milestone. “I couldn’t have done it without my team, and I’m glad I got to share it with them.”
Ferrar has enjoyed her four years as a Mohawk, where she has had some great teammates and peers around her.
“I love my school, and it’s been a really awesome experience,” Ferrar said. “I’ve had the best people surrounding me, so I’m really lucky.”
First year head coach Taylor Cantrell is certainly going to miss having Ferrar around.
“I’m sad she’s leaving,” Cantrell said. “I don’t want her to leave next year, she’s an awesome setter.”
Northwest would need Ferrar and the rest of the Mohawks to up their play as the match got started. Both schools battled back and forth in the first set, as Northwest and West met several times at the net.
For the Senators, Emily Hatfield made her presence felt with several blocks and points scored around the net.
“Emily records the most kills on the team,” West head coach Brittany Sessor said. “She is a big middle. She hits the ball hard, she hits the ball well, and not having her in a couple games this season really hurt our floor. We rely on her a lot at the net.”
The Mohawks had a response for Hatfield’s play at the net, countering with Addi Newman.
According to Cantrell, Newman is able to excel all across the floor at any position.
“She’s just a great all-around player,” Cantrell said. “She’s great back row, she’s great front row. She has an awesome hit, she has an awesome serve. One of hardest hitters one the team, she’s awesome.”
While highly versatile, it was Newman’s net play that impressed in the first set.
Northwest jumped out to a 10-7 lead before West took a timeout. The Mohawks were able to get ahead to a 15-11 lead, but the Senators scored seven of the next nine points to take an 18-17 lead over Northwest before Cantrell called for time.
Out of the break, West scored three straight. Then, the Mohawks answered back with three straight of their own to make the score 21-20. The Senators were able to escape with the first set win in the end, 25-21, coming back on Northwest in the process.
Cantrell had a message for her team between sets, and it seemed to resonate with the Mohawks throughout the rest of the match.
“I told them that we need to step it up, and we need to start playing how we know how to play,” Cantrell said.
Northwest claimed a 9-5 lead before West took a timeout to start the second set. The Mohawks then stretched that margin to 18-12 before Sessor and the Senators called their final timeout of the set.
After the timeout, Northwest continued their success on their way to winning the second set of the match 25-14.
In the third set, both teams went back and forth to start things off. A 6-0 run from the Mohawks gave Northwest a 10-5 lead, and forced West to take another early timeout.
The Senators continued to try and scrap their way back. The Mohawks climbed in front to a 19-15 lead, and Sessor took the last timeout of the third set.
Northwest took a 22-16 lead following the timeout, but four straight West scores brought the Senators within two at 22-20. The Mohawks, though, found a way to get it done and won the third set 25-20 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Things were going well for West in the fourth set, as the Senators now had their backs against the wall.
West opened with an 8-2 lead, and Cantrell let Northwest keep playing without calling a timeout.
The decision paid off, as Northwest went on a 6-1 run to make the score 9-8. Both schools exchanged scores for a short period, but the Mohawks wound up back in front with a 15-14 lead before West took a timeout.
Sessor’s squad broke the huddle and went on a 4-0 run out of the timeout, forcing Northwest to take a timeout of their own.
The Senators scored another out of the timeout to take a 19-15 lead, but the Mohawks scored five straight to reclaim the lead at 20-19. West would use their final timeout at that point.
Back on the floor, Northwest scored five of the next six points to win the match 25-20.
“We didn’t give up and we kept working,” Ferrar said after the match. “You could tell we really wanted it.”
With the win, the Mohawks advance in the district tournament bracket to face Piketon on the road this Saturday.
Coach Cantrell is hoping her girls can give the Redstreaks a challenge.
“We’ve got to play hard,” Cantrell said. “I think we can do it though, we all just got to play our hardest.”
The Senators are now eliminated from the tournament in what has been a challenging season.
“It was a trying season,” Sessor said about 2017. “It was hard to get past a lot of the injuries, we had a different lineup for a long time especially in the gut of our season. We had broken legs, high ankle sprains, unfortunately it just didn’t go the way we predicted back in July and unfortunately that happens when you play in this sport.”
West will be without four seniors who graduate this season, but do have several key pieces set to return next year.
“A lot of our key players come back,” Sessor said. “We lose four absolutely fantastic seniors, I couldn’t ask for a better work ethic from them. I couldn’t ask for better leadership … I’m going to be sad and missing the girls that are leaving us.”
As for 2018, Sessor is optimistic of what the Senators could have in store.
“We’re going to be young again, but I’m excited for what’s to come,” Sessor said.
Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 or on Twitter @BSpicerPDT