WARSAW — It was a Northern Lakes Conference showdown Thursday night at the Tiger Den between Concord and Warsaw. With both teams sitting near the top of the NLC standings coming into the match, a win could mean potentially earning a piece of the conference crown. It was the visiting Minutemen that left with continued conference aspirations following a 3-2 victory.
Concord absolutely dominated the opening set. The visitors built a big lead and never looked back, earning a 25-11 set win. In the postgame interview Warsaw head coach Rick Ashmore described his team’s first set performance as, “Probably the worst set we’ve played all year.”
That performance must have been wake-up call for the Tigers. Warsaw came back more focused in the second and third sets. Warsaw never had a huge lead in the second set but was able to play consistent and avoid Concord cutting into the small lead that the Tigers had earned. Warsaw closed out the second set 25-21. In the third set Warsaw remained focused and took a 2-1 advantage of its opponent with a 25-20 win.
The Tigers struggled with their serves early in the fourth set and once again allowed Concord to build a lead. Despite a back-and-forth game in terms of momentum, Concord would force a fifth set tiebreaker with a 25-20 win.
The night started with an ugly performance from Warsaw and it ended with the same. The Tigers looked far from prepared for their fifth set while Concord was fired up and raced out to a big lead. Warsaw made several mental miscues in the set, which helped fuel Concord’s nice start. By the time Warsaw found any rhythm, the Minutemen had already put 13 on the board. Concord won the match with a 15-8 decision in the fifth set.
“Our conversation with the team here was about that we need to take our opponents seriously,” Ashmore stated after a lengthy postgame discussion with his players. “We had a tremendous “Think Pink” night. The parents that put it together did a great thing. We even talked about it yesterday, with everything else going on around us, we as a team needed to be ready to go. That’s what we need to contribute to this match.”
Ashmore’s squad did exhibit some mental errors throughout the match. The Tigers are talented, but still remain on the young side with a roster that features one senior, seven juniors and six sophomores.
“You don’t want to use it as a crutch, but, yes we are very young,” Ashmore remarked. ” We’re actually younger than our JV team. We just tell them to ask themselves, ‘Are we outworking every team that we’re playing?’ That’s the way we have to go. We have to learn how to bash through some barriers that have been in this program.
“I believe in the kids. We did some things that worked very, very well tonight. Concord responded real well and made some nice adjustments. It’s a growing experience.”
Kills leaders for Warsaw were Alexie Day (19), Nikki Parrett (14) and Hanna Leach (9). Kacy Bragg led Warsaw with four blocks. Leach added three. Erin Peugh had 24 digs. Day had 15. Brynn Durecki recorded three aces. Bragg led the team with 42 assists.
Warsaw will host Penn for senior night on Tuesday. The Tigers are now 17-12 overall and finish the NLC slate at 5-2.
Concord improves to 5-1 in the NLC and will travel to Plymouth on Tuesday. Plymouth (5-1) suffered its first NLC loss of the season, 3-2, to Northridge Thursday night.
Warsaw won the junior varsity match 25-15, 25-20 to improve to 21-3 overall and finish 6-1 in the NLC. Courtney Chookie had nine kills and Addie Dickerhoff three for Warsaw. Dickerhoff had 10 digs, while Gabby Hamill and McKenna Hawblitzel each had eight. Megan Sullivan led the team with four aces. Dickerhoff had 14 assists and Alicia Sikora nine. The trio of Hawblitzel, Gwyn Bellamy and Emma Gelbaugh each had one block.
The Warsaw freshman team posted a 25-18, 25-19 win to improve to 27-1 overall and finish undefeated in the NLC at 7-0. Brooklyn Slone and Reagan Roulo led the offense with seven kills each and Kaia Hummitch had six. Hummitch had two blocks and Sophia Long one. Kyle Prater led the team with 16 digs, while Allie Mcguire and Slone each had 12. Slone had three aces and Prater and Roulo each had two. Katie Schmidt racked up 25 assists.