Bulldogs down Bearcats in 4 sets
     2014-09-18      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Jesse Deines/for the Citizen - Gering senior Leah Newman (No. 1) tips the ball against Scottsbluff sophomore Sally Welsh (No. 5) and junior Aly Camacho (No. 14) under the watchful eyes of Bulldog sophomore Joslyn Olsson (No. 18) and junior Allie Boggs during the Bulldogs’ four-set victory over the Bearcats at the Scottsbluff High School gymnasium. 
SCOTTSBLUFF — In recent years, it has not been unusual for the Gering and Scottsbluff volleyball teams to battle in close matches.
Tuesday’s first meeting of the season at Scottsbluff High School gymnasium was no different, and the teams, both 4-5 entering the duel, were deadlocked at a set victory apiece and several times through the third game, the last at 20-all.

Gering then got on a roll of five unanswered points to end the set at 25-20, and the Bulldogs broke open a tight fourth set with five straight points to win the match in four games, 25-19, 18-25, 25-20, 25-16.

First-year Gering coach Dave Lashley said the Bulldogs (5-5) needed a strong performance after they were 1-2 last week, losing in four sets to Chadron on Thursday and in two games on Saturday to host North Platte but finishing with a three-set win over Alliance at North Platte on Saturday.

“We just didn’t play very well last week at all,” Lashley said. “We played well in the last set and a half and won that match against Alliance, so tonight was huge for us.

“Scottsbluff is a very much-improved team from last year and they played with a lot of heart and played hard, and we just needed to go with that and outperform them. In that last couple of sets I thought we did that, and I thought we outplayed them a bunch in the first set.”

Gering began the fourth set riding the same momentum it had in finishing the third game, taking an early 4-1 lead. Although Scottsbluff (4-6) tied the set twice, at 7-all and 8-all, the Bulldogs took command of the game and led 13-8 and forcing Bearcats coach Kenna Urwiller to use a timeout.

But Scottsbluff could close its deficit to three at 14-11 and then four on two occasions afterward, while Gering spun off four straight points on a 7-1 run to take command 21-13. The Bulldogs led 24-14 before the Bearcats scored twice but got no closer than 24-16.
“We’ve been one of those teams that battle, battle, battle, and one of our faults is we don’t play aggressive enough in the last part of the game, and it came back and hurt us,” Urwiller said.
“We’ve talked about making sure that we are mentally in the game and we understand the situation at the time. We want to play smart but we need to play aggressive, and I feel like we did not do that tonight.”

Statistical leaders for Gering were senior Kaylee Spreier with 22 kills, 10 digs, five blocks and one ace serve; senior Leah Newman with 13 digs, four kills and one set assist; junior Allie Boggs with 40 set assists, nine digs, five kills, 3.5 blocks and two ace serves; senior Brooklyn Perez with 34 set assists, two kills and two digs; and junior Abby Kiesel with six kills, four digs and one block.
Also, junior Sara Schwartzkopf with six digs; junior Jade Riedel with four set assists; senior Mikayla Kreider with two ace serves; junior Lauren Shaul with one kill and one dig; and sophomore Joslyn Olsson with one kill and one assist.

“I’m glad we have the people we have, because it’s depth and gives us the people to play when things aren’t going well,” Lashley said. “We needed to get a win right now and so that was good for us, and I think it will help us. We have some things to correct, so we just have to go and make sure we do that.”

The Bulldogs play host to a triangular today (Thursday), starting at 4 p.m. against Gordon-Rushville. The Mustangs then play Chadron at about 5 p.m., and Gering plays Chadron again at about 6 p.m.
Leading Scottsbluff statistically were junior Chesney Walker with 13 kills, 13 digs, three blocks and three assists; senior Kyra Willats with 23 assists, seven digs, two ace serves and two ace blocks; junior Kelli Wentz with 18 digs, eight kills and one assist; junior Stacea Pauli with eight digs and one ace serve; junior Aly Camacho with six kills, 2 block assists and five digs; sophomore Alli Leever with 13 digs and two ace serves; and sophomore Sally Welsh with six assists, four kills, two digs and one block assist.

“We made too many errors and they came back to bite us,” Urwiller said. “We definitely see some things we need to work on in practice.”
After Tuesday’s home match against Gering, Scottsbluff has a week off before its match at Torrington next Tuesday. The Bearcats then visit Chadron on Sept. 25.

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