SYRACUSE – What started as a one-sided affair ended as a thrilling contest Tuesday night. The Wawasee volleyball team welcomed in Triton for senior night at the Hardwood Tee Pee and just when all hope seemed lost for the Lady Warriors, they were able to grab victory from the claws of defeat more than once.
Wawasee managed to stay persistent after dropping the first two games to the Lady Trojans, coming back to claim a 3-2 victory for the team’s 17th victory of the season.
The Lady Warriors hardly showed up for the first game as Triton pulled away for a dominant 25-14 victory. After dropping a 25-17 decision in game two, Wawasee seemed down for the count but the Lady Warriors were just getting started.
Wawasee turned the table in the third game, winning 25-17. A new energy was noticed from the team, and the crowd, during the game. Head coach Jeff Phillips attributed the slow start from the the first two games to overcoming emotions and getting used to a new lineup as the team was without regular middle blocker Addyson Ayres, who is out indefinitely with an injury.
“Senior night played a big role tonight,” Phillips began. “People come out a little bit emotional with it being one of the last matches, then you couple that with Addyson Ayres’ knee injury and having to revamp an entire lineup on just one day of practice. We just came out flat.”
Phillips said that the players let the emotions get the best of them to start the match but Triton head coach Samantha Willsey knows it was the emotions from her opponent that won the game in the end.
“It was their senior night and they pulled it together,” Willsey stated. “Wawasee really wanted to win and I think they had that desire a little bit more than we had in the third set. They got the momentum and took it from there.”
Wawasee had numerous players step up in the final three games to grab that momentum. Sophomores Meghan Fretz (15 kills) and Seaquinn Bright (13 kills) were both electric for the Lady Warriors as they led the team in kills, Paige Hlutke was not far behind with 10 kills of her own. Fretz added another three kills to her stat line while Liz Hardy led the team with 3.5 kills.
The dominance at the net led to a 25-12 victory in game four, setting up the winner-take-all game five. Triton finally got out of its funk in the fifth game, jumping out to a 7-1 lead, but Wawasee came storming back to claim a 15-12 victory. Phillips made sure to give a shout out to his student section that kept the energy level high all night.
“The biggest bright spot for us tonight was our cheer block,” remarked Phillips. “You’ve got all of these high school kids who see game one and game two and could’ve just gone home and done something else, but they didn’t. They hung around and were loud and I give them a lot of credit for a five set match, too. It was definitely a home court advantage those last three games.”
Senior Alli Ousley led Wawasee with five aces and 32 assists while senior libero Aly Anderson led the team with 43 digs. Krystal Sellers led Triton with 17 assists, Becca Kennedy led the team with six kills and Quinn Downing was tops with 13 digs.
Triton (12-12) will travel to Plymouth Thursday night to close out the regular season while Wawasee (17-14) will host Northridge.