Riverhawks soar in four: Ridgeline secures 3rd place in Region 11
By Shawn Harrison sports editor
MILLVILLE â With third place on the line in Region 11, the Riverhawks took a big swing to securing that spot in the volleyball standings Tuesday night.
Ridgeline and Logan squared off for the second time this season. Just when it looked like it may be another five-set thriller, the Riverhawks swooped in and finished off the Grizzlies in four, 23-25, 25-14, 25-11, 25-23. Ridgeline rallied to take the first meeting in five earlier this season.
âI donât think I could have handled another five set match,â Ridgeline coach Katie Ormsby said. âWe expected a battle back and forth with this team, and thatâs exactly what it was.
â… When it was on the line, my girls stepped up. I really feel we are peaking at the perfect time going into state. Iâm just glad things are clicking.â
Ormsby instructed her athletes to be aggressive and swing away. Kenedi Christiansen certainly listened. She finished with a match-best 16 kills.
âWe started out a little quiet,â Christiansen said. â… This win for us was really big.â
The opening and closing sets were tight throughout. After 11 ties and eight lead changes, the Riverhawks (10-11, 5-4 region) won a long rally to begin a 4-0 surge in the late going of the fourth set.
Payton Baker was able to get a serve to crawl over the net on a serve for an ace, and the Grizzlies (5-20, 3-6) struggled to keep the ball in the play. Errors proved costly for the visitors as Ridgeline finished off the fourth and the match.
âI had all my girls show up in the first game, swinging away,â Logan coach Jenn Ioane said. âIt felt normal. We just couldnât finish the job.â
The Grizzly coach was not happy with what she saw in the second and third sets, so she went to some junior varsity players and stuck with them. They pushed the Riverhawks throughout the fourth set.
âI was trying to get some new blood, some enthusiasm,â Ioane said. âI had some underclassmen on the bench that I could see wanted to play. Iâm all about that positive attitude. It was a tight game and exciting.â
Logan certainly got off to a good start. The Grizzlies were swinging away and led a good portion of the opening set. After the Riverhawks rallied to tie the set at 23-23 â thanks in a large part to four consecutive kills by Christiansen â Logan captured the set No. 1 when Shaylee Anderson and Sylvia Otrusinik hammered home finishers.
âWe just made a couple of mistakes at the end of the first set,â Ormsby said. âWe came out strong in the next set, got the momentum and just rolled with it. … We stayed aggressive with our swings and serving. When they did, good things happened.â
The Riverhawks used a pair of 6-0 runs to seize control of the second set. Then they got to set point with an 8-1 surge. After Logan survived four set points, Christiansen put the set away with a kill.
âWe were way more consistent with our serving and passing,â Christiansen said.
Ridgeline carried the momentum into the third set and never trailed. After a hitting error by Logan began the set, Ashlee Ahlmer served up three consecutive aces, and the Riverhawks took flight. Ahlmer had six aces on the night.
The hosts finished off the third set with a 7-0 run as Christiansen had two kills and teamed up with Hayden Merritt for a block. Merritt also had one of her five kills during that stretch and finished with three blocks for the match.
Then came the wild fourth set as the Grizzlies played with a mixed lineup.
âWe had planned the whole week for Sharron (Wallace) and No. 4 (Otrusinik) and when they werenât in, our defense had to switch back,â Ormsby said. âOnce they figured it out, we were fine.â
Wallace and Otrusinik led Logan with six kills each, but neither of the seniors played in the fourth set. Kjerstie Yeates had five kills.