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Columbus East wanted to continue to make its case for being one of the top volleyball teams going into the postseason, but one of the steppingstones in getting there was Columbus North.
The Class 4A No. 9 Olympians showed strong hits and a solid front line led by senior Faith Myers’ 30 assists to get past the Bull Dogs 25-10, 25-10, 25-21 on East’s senior night.
The first two sets were mainly controlled by the Olympians (14-6), who barely gave the Bull Dogs (8-15) any window to get points on the board.
East coach Faith Wilder-Newland said the team’s high-octane offense was one of the strong points early on.
“The first two sets, we played consistent,” Wilder-Newland said. “We kept communicating and were able to control the ball well.”
In the final set of the match, the Bull Dogs were able to make runs and keep the contest close, but a late rally by the Olympians halted a potential comeback, and the momentum changed completely.
North coach Caitlin Greiner said the team’s mentality wasn’t shown early in the match.
“We didn’t show up ready to play, which has been an ongoing battle with us lately,” Greiner said. “We finally were able to wake up in the third set and were able to leave it all out on the court.”
Bull Dogs junior Karen Wildemann said that the team needs to be more consistent and control the game better.
“We were all really disappointed with this loss,” Wildemann said. “The final set, we really wanted to have fun with what we were doing and not be down on ourselves so much.”
Myers led the Olympians in attacking with 18 kills and also provided four aces. Senior Carly Robertson hit 14 kills, while senior Alexa Husmann-Miller had 15 digs and senior Ashlyn Robbins had 12 digs. Freshman Bailey Western provided five blocks.
Sophomore Katie Mack said that the team’s effort was consistent, but needed to be able to finish better.
“We seemed to be a bit overconfident in ourselves going into the third set,” Mack said. “We need to remain focused and know that the game isn’t over until the 25th point in the final set.”
Mack said that the senior leadership has helped pave the way for East’s success this year.
“Our seniors aren’t just our leaders, they’re our family,” Mack said. “They push us further every day and give us the confidence we need to be a better team.”
Wildemann finished with 18 assists and seven digs for North. Junior Makinsey Summa pounded nine kills, and junior Janelle Peters added seven. Senior Devon Roese notched eight digs, and junior Hannah Vittorio had seven.
Greiner said that for the Bull Dogs to focus on getting where they need to be, they need to be mentally tough the rest of the way.
“We need to be more consistent and be mentally focused,” Greiner said. “We are young, but the experience is there, and we need to prove that when we play.”
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