NAPPANEE – The Warsaw volleyball roster lists her as Caroline Mayer.
It seems that the senior star is “Lina” to everyone who knows her though.
Mayer, no matter what name she answers to, can simply be called a huge asset to her surging squad.
Lina was all over the court again Thursday night as Warsaw collected a 3-1 win over host NorthWood in Northern Lakes Conference play.
Mayer served, passed and skied for key big kills as the Tigers topped the Panthers 25-16, 21-25, 25-14, 25-23.
Warsaw, coming off a 4-0 showing to win its own tournament last Saturday, improves to 19-7 overall and 4-2 in the NLC. NorthWood drops to 14-10 overall and 2-4 in league play.
Mayer, whose demeanor was as cool as the other side of the pillow Thursday night, was all business. She showcased a super skill set with a brilliant all-around performance and only flashed a couple of subtle smiles in a game known for its emotion.
Warsaw coach Mike Howard as effusive in his praise of outside hitter/opposite Mayer, one of six seniors this season.
“Lina is our anchor and we look to her for big swings,” said Howard. “She and Jordyn (senior middle blocker Jordyn Lindeman) feed off each other.
“She was very emotional as a freshman and so frustrated with her hitting as a sophomore that she was the libero for our JV team. She started to blossom as a hitter for us the second half of last year. She’s worked on her confidence and steadiness.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Lina. To see her growth and maturity as a person and a player is the reason you coach. The wins are nice, but to see that is what it’s all about.”
Warsaw took the opening game handily Thursday night led by the serving of Cassie Hoag and Mayer.
The second set was tied at 14-14 before Sydney Wysong got going for the Panthers. The senior outside hitter sparked her team to a win to even the match.
Howard was a little agitated after the second set and made sure to let his team know about it during the three-minute break prior to the third game.
“I told them they had to play with energy and aggression,” remarked Howard of his animated discussion with his team. “We won the first set pretty handily, but you have to bring your best every set and we did not do that in the second.”
The Tigers answered the challenge in the third set by pounding the Panthers. The final set seemed to be in control for Warsaw with a 22-15 lead, but NorthWood got going behind the play of Wysong to rally to a 23-23 deadlock. The Panthers then had a huge service error and Jordyn Lindeman ended the match with a beautiful tip kill for the Tigers.
“This is a strange place to play and crazy things always seem to happen on that one side of the court when we come here,” explained Howard. “I don’t know what it is. No. 4 (Wysong) got hot at the end and did a great job for them.”
Howard, whose team started the season 7-0 and then hit a little lull as they went 1-4 versus a tough stretch of the schedule, likes what he sees as the regular season quickly draws near an end.
“I feel like we are peaking now,” said Howard, whose team has won its last six matches. “I think the girls have figured it out. They have relaxed, bought in to what we want and are getting better at practice.
“I think that the pressure was off of us after we lost early against a tough schedule. We were tested and we felt that we were getting better.”
Mayer was simply everywhere on the final stat sheet for the Tigers. She had a team-high 18 kills to go with a team-high eight aces and also added 22 digs and a block.
Senior Jordyn Lindeman, the emotion-charged standout for the Tigers, had 12 kills and two blocks. Sophomore Lexi Day had eight kills, three aces and a block. Junior setter Cassie Hoag had 37 assists and 16 digs and senior libero Peyton Adamiec 28 digs.
Wysong and sophomore Kennedy Wiens, who led the Panthers to a 3-1 win at Jimtown Monday night, were the top hitters for the hosts again Thursday night.
The Warsaw junior varsity continued its outstanding season with a 25-15- 25-19 win. Nikki Parrett had seven kills, while Abby Serbousek and Katie Swanson each had four and Hannah Leach three.
Amy Herendeen, Alicia Sikora and Erin Peugh each had six digs, Emali Grose five and Serbousek four. Sicker had 17 assists and three aces. Swanson had two aces and Serbousek one and Parrett one block.
Coach Chandra Hepler’s JV team is now 17-1 overall and 6-0 in the NLC.
Warsaw plays at Concord Oct. 8. NorthWood hosts Mishawaka Marian on Monday.
The pairings for the state tournament series for volleyball will be drawn on Monday, Oct. 12 by the IHSAA. Warsaw will play in the Class 4-A Penn Sectional this year.