Wildcats head to Regionals
By Jarann Johnson
Sometimes it doesn’t have to be pretty or smooth. It just has to be done.
The Center-Stanton Wildcats used the old and wise idiom about closing business deals to advance to the Region 5 tournament last week. Center-Stanton beat Garrison-Max in five sets (25-22, 14-25,25-23, 25-20, and 15-5) to advance to the Region 5 tournament.
On the first night of the District 10 tournament, Center-Stanton waited for their opponent because they were awarded an opening round bye for achieving the No. 2-seed during the regular season. On the second night of the District 10 tournament, the No. 3-seeded Underwood Comets upset the Wildcats in five sets (23-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20, 17-15).
Garrison-Max awaited Center-Stanton in the region-qualifier match.
The first set of the game was highly competitive and tied eight times early on. At 13-13 Garrison-Max made a move, scoring four straight to grab a 17-13 lead.
It became apparent that beating Garrison-Max would require slowing down Madison Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis had three kills and one ace in the opening set.
Center-Stanton Head Coach Janet Erhardt called a timeout to give her team a boost and adjust the team’s strategy. The timeout worked, and Center-Stanton re-tied the game 19-19 on an ace by senior Rachel Vitek.
After Vitek’s ace, Center-Stanton went on a 4-0 run, which was capped by a kill from junior Tori Wahlman. Wahlman’s kill gave Center-Stanton a 23-19 lead, and the late push was enough to deliver the set.
Garrison-Max gave the set away on a serving error by senior Rebecca Syvertson. The final set was 25-22.
Garrison-Max didn’t have the same serving troubles in the second set of the game. Nieuwenhuis pushed her team out to an early 12-3 lead with 5 aces.
Center-Stanton never recovered from the bad start and fell 25-14 in the second set. The third set featured a competitive battle between the teams.
The teams matched wills late in the set battling to four ties (20-20, 21-21, 22-22, 23-23). Center-Stanton made sure to finish off the set on their home floor, grabbing the final two points of the set.
Sophomore Mykaela Jacobson recorded an ace to break the tie, and senior Tristen Henke finished the game off with a kill.
The fourth set was another bad start for the Center-Stanton Wildcats. The Wildcats started the third set down 10-3 and never managed to pull themselves out of an early set hole.
Garrison-Max won the fourth set 25-20, forcing a fifth and final set. Garrison-Max wanted another quick start and Center-Stanton wanted to avoid starting slow in their most important set of the season.