The Northwest Mohawks overcame some late drama Thursday night as they toughed out a five set victory over the Valley Indians by a final score of 25-16, 19-25, 25-15 26-28, and 15-9.
Northwest put the pressure on the Indians early into the first set as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Despite the early lead, the first set would become a back and forth fight between the two evenly matched SOC teams.
Northwest would begin to pull away behind sophomore Haiyden Wamsley’s dominant offensive play. Northwest would extend their lead to 21-15, forcing an Indians timeout. Northwest would continue to roll as they won the opening set by a final score of 25-16.
Valley bounced right back to open the second set, gaining the momentum early and getting a quick 11-5 lead. The Mohawks would rally and eventually tie the second set at 15-15. After a few lead changes, the Indians would get some separation and ultimately win the second set by a score of 25-19.
The third set would be the most lopsided set of the match, one in which Northwest dominated on defense and from the service line in route to a 25-15 victory.
With Northwest looking to put the game away and Valley looking to tie the game up, the fourth set would be the most dramatic one of the night. Valley would quickly get a 4-0 lead on the Mohawks as they took advantage of some early Mohawk miscues. Northwest would overcome these early mistakes though and come to within one point of the lead. Going into Valley’s first timeout of the set, the score was 10-9.
Coming out of the timeout, Northwest would tie the game at 10-10. Both teams would fight for the lead throughout this set as there were four lead changes going into the final point as well as seven ties. Northwest head coach Elizabeth Lewis looked to instill some confidence in her players as they fought for control of the game, “I told them when you see the ball coming, think ‘I want that ball because I have confidence I can make that pass’. I just wanted them to believe in themselves and their abilities.”
Haiyden Wamsley would again take over the offense as she had two huge points that put Northwest on the verge of clinching the match. Valley would rally back, though, fighting off three game points as senior Bailee Day would eventually put the Indians over the top as they won the 4th set, 28-26.
Going into the final set with the momentum on their side, Valley head coach Kari Christman looked to mentally prepare her team for the fifth and final set. “I told my team you have to forget about everything before and focus on the here and now and that we are only playing to 15 and you have to give it all you got.”
The fifth set would begin to feel a lot like the fourth set as Valley would fight back after going down 6-3 to come to within one point of the Mohawks. The score would read 9-8 as Northwest took their first timeout of the set. Their success, however, was short lived as Northwest would seize the momentum coming out of this timeout, and eventually put away the Indians behind sophomore Valerie Eury’s game winner. The final score of the last set of the night would read 15-9.
Lewis loved the way her team did not shy away from the big moments in the match, “It feels wonderful for the girls to execute how I knew they could all season. We are a young team. We have no seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, and two freshmen in our starting lineup but they are talented. I knew all along they could do it, it was just getting them to believe in themselves and to not feel intimidated.”
The Indians will next travel to Wheelersburg next Tuesday to face the Pirates in an SOC II matchup with JV beginning at 5:30 p.m.
As for the Mohawks, they will travel to Oak Hill Tuesday evening to face the Oaks, with JV also beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT