Plymouth used an 8-1 run to end the first game and never looked back in a 25-18, 25-19, 25-15 win over Wawasee in the NLC opener for both clubs, which matched up well on paper but were worlds apart on emotion.
“There were sections of the game, like at 17-17, where they outscore us 8-1,” began Wawasee head coach Jeff Phillips. “Did we give up eight points or did they score eight points? How did they get to 25 and we only get to 18? That is all I am really concerned about with this game.”
With the game tied at 17 in the first game, Plymouth used a pair of kills from Marissa German and Carly Baker to begin the rally, and an ace to end the game left Wawasee shaking its heads.
Game two had Plymouth’s Amber Redinger begin to establish herself at the net, slamming home a pair of kills in helping Plymouth jump out to a 15-7 lead. Wawasee would get no closer than four points to Plymouth in the second game, and a 6-0 deficit in the third game forced Phillips to call a timeout to regroup.
“Amber played exceptionally well tonight, she hit a lot of nice shots that put pressure on Wawasee,” Plymouth head coach Doug West said. “She blocked a lot of balls and played really well. She was huge for us.”
Redinger led Plymouth with 11 kills and had a hand in five blocks, and along with Baker, denied Wawasee nine times. The lone bright spot for Wawasee offensively was the attacking of junior Hunter Gaerte, who tied for the team lead with five kills and had several other attempts nearly find the mark.
“Hunter played great for us,” Phillips said. “Tonight she really only babied one ball. When she swung, she was effective. She showed some confidence tonight. She really played great.”
Alli Ousley added five kills and a team-high 14 assists plus 13 digs in another well-rounded night. Anne Beer offered up 15 digs and Taylor Spangle did what she could at the net with a pair of blocks and had a handful of touches.
Wawasee (7-4, 0-1 NLC) had won seven of its past eight games coming into the night, but just couldn’t build any momentum against a Plymouth team that left Syracuse just 5-5 overall and 1-0 in the NLC.
“Tonight, we talked about when people go home and look at the paper, see Plymouth beat Wawasee in three, nobody is going to go ‘ahh’ and be surprised,” Phillips said. “But if you push a team, take it to a game four, maybe force a game five, that same scoreline in the paper is different.
“That changes perception,” continued Phillips. “Can you make it happen is a big deal? That is the difference we want playing in the conference. We don’t want teams to just walk in here and expect to win three and go home happy.”
Added West, “It was nice to get off the a nice start in the conference. Our attacking was strong, we were able to stay in the system and we really were effective.”
The Plymouth JV outslugged Wawasee 25-21, 25-19. Stat leaders for Wawasee (8-2, 0-1 NLC) included Tia Long with eight assists, Paige Hlutke with six kills, Jada Antonides with 11 digs and Kasey Napier and Olivia Huffman each recording a pair of aces.
Wawasee will return to the court next Thursday at Goshen.