By Dan Woodlock
Times-Junction Sports Editor
Willard rebounded from a slow start against Clyde and came out swinging against Calvert to salvage a split in their season-opening volleyball tri-match at the WHS gymnasium on Saturday.
The Lady Flashes fell behind, 18-6, against the Lady Fliers and never could recover in a 15-25, 16-25 defeat. But WHS was able to kill off any negative momentum in match two, piling up 26 kills en route to a 25-16, 25-18 win over the Lady Senecas.
“We came out with a lot of nerves for whatever reason and had a lot of passing errors and positional mistakes,” said Willard Head Coach Justin Rohrer. “Clyde ran a fast offense against us, but it’s nothing that we don’t already try to run ourselves in practice. We’ve had a bit of a break since our last scrimmage, so maybe that factored in.”
Grace Borden ripped 10 of the Lady Fliers’ 23 kills in the two-set win. Heidi Marshall, Sydnee Helms and Borden combined for 33 digs, as Clyde limited Willard’s attack to 15 kills.
Alyse Cok and Brooke Vipperman topped the Lady Flashes with four kills each.
After converting their first 35 serves, Clyde (1-0) missed consecutive service attempts in the second set, as Willard hung within four (12-8), but could never get over the hump.
The Lady Flashes (1-1) got the ship righted early on in the second match-up against Calvert. Consecutive kills by Cassie Crawford helped open a 10-6 lead and an ace by Kathleen Schaaf, who piled up 24 assists in the two-sets (36 on the day), triggered a five-point run that established a 16-8 advantage.
Lydia Wiers broke out from a quiet opener against Clyde to sting Calvert with a WHS team-high nine kills in the finale. Her back-to-back kills in the second set snapped a 12-12 tie and Willard never trailed again.
Among the Lady Flashes’ 26 kills were seven from Crawford and seven combined between Alyse Cok and Brooke Vipperman.
“We had a lot of players contribute today and the ball really got moving around, especially against Calvert,” noted Rohrer. “Lydia has been nursing a little bit of a back injury and hasn’t been able to be the dominant figure she typically is, but it was nice to get Cassie Crawford and others a lot of swings today.”Madie Secor combined for 29 digs in the two matches.