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The Columbus East volleyball team had something to prove in its match against Class 4A No. 8 Roncalli on Thursday night.
The 4A No. 9 Olympians accomplished their goal, defeating the Rebels 25-21, 25-22, 26-24.
“Roncalli is a great team,” East coach Faith Wilder-Newland said. “They’ve been taking strong teams to five sets. We wanted to come here tonight and try to beat them in three sets.”
In the final set, East (17-7) had to battle from a deficit. The set began with Roncalli (17-8) jumping out to a quick lead and taking advantage of several East mistakes. The Rebels played aggressively and appeared to be on their way to forcing a fourth set. Wilder-Newland called a timeout with her team trailing 19-13.
“I told the girls we needed to just play one point at a time,” Wilder-Newland said. “We needed to focus, make some plays, and get back into the game.”
The Olympians began to slowly eat at Roncalli’s lead, outscoring the Rebels 8-2 to tie the game at 21.
“We just had to stay focused and worry about one point at a time like coach told us,” said East senior Faith Myers, who led the team with 38 assists. “We just have to always keep fighting, working hard and never quit.”
After Roncalli took a 24-23 lead, East tied the game again behind an ace from junior Caitlyn Williams.
The Olympians then took the final two points to close the match.
“Earlier in the season we struggled with consistency and mental toughness,” Myers said. “To come back in that set tonight against a team like Roncalli is huge for us.”
“We did a good job in the end going for the ball on defense,” said senior Carly Robertson, who had 17 kills and 14 digs for the Olympians. “We’ve worked hard in practice to improve, and it showed tonight. I believe we did a good job executing what coach has been telling us all season.
Other top performers for East included freshman Cortney VanLiew with 12 kills, senior Alexa Husmann-Miller with 19 digs and Williams with two aces.
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