HOT START LIFTS TIGERS
Ink Free News / Sports on Wednesday, September 16, 2020
By Mike Deak
WARSAW – Nothing like a good ol’ fashioned hot streak to help along a home win.
Warsaw started its volleyball contest against Columbia City in the Tiger Den on a 17-5 run in the first set and just carried on from there in a 25-10, 25-8, 25-15 romp Tuesday night.
Seemingly every combination head coach Chandra Hepler put together seemed to work, whether she went big up front with Kennedy Lauck and Kaylee Weeks swinging away, or getting the right defensive units in to thwart whatever Columbia City desperately tried to get back into the contest.
Lauck led Warsaw with nine kills, and really looked like she would crack double digits in the first game alone, a pair of her pounds leaving the City defenders looking around for help as Warsaw maintained and retained control.
“For us, it was about matchups tonight and seeing what we have,” Hepler said. “We wanted to see who is working best together. We are very fortunate to have 14 girls that can be asked to go into any position and play well. We’re deep and when we lose a player or two for whatever reason, next one up is ready to step in and we really haven’t missed much of a beat.”
Defensively, Warsaw was as sharp as its been all season, and this coming against a City team that 24 hours prior had derailed a solid Tippecanoe Valley team in straight sets. Kylie Smith was all over the court as usual, scooping up 10 digs to lead the squad and the active Cora West was a key contributor with eight digs.
Elizabeth Schmidt and Smith had aces in the third game as Warsaw took a 9-8 deficit and flipped it to a 12-10 advantage. Smith finished with four aces on the night, tying with Avery Hales for the team lead as a Hales whistler put Warsaw up 19-14 as City’s hopes were crumbling.
Hales, a top-five setter in the country per MaxPreps, added another 33 assists to her mind-boggling total of 598 already this season. Hales also had seven kills and four digs.
“She’s just seeing the court so well right now, and is thriving on getting her teammates the ball,” Hepler said of Hales.
Warsaw’s JV (8-8) added another win to its belts, a 25-18, 25-19 finish against City. Stats were not immediately available for the JV contest.
In the freshman competition, Claire Reichenbach had five aces and eight assists as Warsaw moved to 17-0 on the season in a 25-16, 25-11 victory over City. Olivia Devenney added four kills and Maya Contreras had five digs in the victory.
Warsaw (15-6) will return to action Thursday when it visits Plymouth in a matchup of NLC contenders.