PDT Sports Writer
MCDERMOTT — Just when host Northwest had West pegged for a third match this season, the Senators fought back.
After dropping two potential match-winning sets, the No. 3 Mohawks drew on the inspiration of a senior voice to bear down and eliminate No. 14 West in Tuesday’s five-set nail biter. Senior setter Maegan Lynn urged her teammates on to regroup.
“In the huddle before that last (set), she was like ‘come on, we’ve got to do this,’” Northwest coach Judy Bayes said.
The Mohawks advance to Saturday’s Division III Southeast Sectional Championship where No. 6 West Union comes into town after defeating No. 6 Valley in a five-set match as well. Northwest started the match with wins of 25-14 and 25-16, looking to sweep the Senators for a third time this season.
“I thought we would win in three, I thought it would be fairly close threes but I thought we would win in three,” Bayes said. “But my kids lost focus after (the second set) when we won so easily.”
What ensued was a tipping match that slowed the pace of the game towards West’s favor. Although it had actually started showing signs in the second, West was able to use free balls to capture sets three and four by the scores of 25-21 and 25-23.
“We lost composure and we stopped doing what we do well and started playing to their tempo,” Bayes said.
That’s when Bayes made a switch that ultimately made a switch that paid great dividends. Instead of rotating Lynn out when she approached the front line, Bayes kept her in for communication purposes.
Despite sacrificing a block, Bayes kept Lynn in the match for the entire set. The Mohawks went on to take the final set 15-10.
The senior led the team with 31 assists while Haleigh Vastine gave Northwest a big night with a team-high 28 digs and 14 kills. Ashley Riley had 17 points for the winners.
For the Senators, Kayla Webb finished her high school career with 96 assists, Korie Calliahan had 44 digs and Megan Shupert recorded three kills to lead West. Along with Webb, the Senators lose Kelsey Reiser and Haley Sparks to graduation.
West coach Brittany Sessor declined comment after the match.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
West 14 16 25 25 10
Northwest 25 25 21 23 15