Bulldogs erupt for four-set victory: Scottsbluff rallies to split first two games before Gering sweeps last two
     2014-10-23      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photos by Nathan Flowers/Spectrum Photo Bearcat sophomore Sally Welsh (No. 8, center) dives low for the dig as teammates sophomore Giselle Gurrola (No. 22) and junior Kelli Wentz (No. 5) stay prepared for the next action during Thursday’s battle between the Bulldogs and the Bearcats at Gering High School.  
Gering volleyball coach Dave Lashley said after the Bulldogs’ four-set victory Thursday night that everyone sees the kills, and that is what makes senior Kaylee Spreier the team’s standout.
But while Spreier had a stellar night against Scottsbluff by scoring 15 kills, she also had eight digs, 6.5 blocks and five ace serves.

And Spreier was quick to share the wealth of her teammates, who broke open a deadlocked match after two games and rode two strong final sets to score the 25-23, 25-27, 25-13, 25-7 victory at the Gering High School gymnasium, the Bulldogs’ second 3-games-to-1 win over the Bearcats this season.

“I’m just proud of how the team worked together and we got it accomplished,” Spreier said. “In the third game, we stepped out and we just started out from the get-go. We just pushed from there and it was good.”

The first two games were neck and neck, and either team could have taken a 2-0 lead. The teams were tied at 21-all in Game 1 and Scottsbluff went ahead by two points before Gering finished with five straight to win the set.
Game 2 was in Gering’s hands with the Bulldogs up 24-20. But the Bearcats rallied to tie the set, overcame a Gering game point with three straight kill plays and won the set to even the match.

Both coaches offered frustration in being tied after the first two games.
“We should have won it in three, to tell you the truth,” first-year Gering coach Dave Lashley said. “We were up 24-20 and couldn’t put it away. We gave them mistakes and they just lived off our mistakes. We had played pretty well up to that point, and we just let it get away from us.”

“We played like we should have those first two sets,” second-year Scottsbluff coach Kenna Urwiller said. “That’s what you expect from a Scottsbluff-Gering match.”
Spreier said she felt it was just a matter of time before the Bulldogs got rolling.
“We came out pretty hard but we just weren’t in the flow of the game yet,” Spreier said. “They played off our errors and that just gave them the momentum. But once we corrected those, we had it all the way. So I was really proud of us in that perspective.”

In the third game, Gering scored seven straight points to erase an early Bearcat run and take a 10-4 lead. Although Scottsbluff climbed back to within two at 11-9, the Bulldogs then took command with six unanswered points and finished with four straight points for the 12-point set win and 2-1 match lead.

“We stepped on the accelerator, which we talked about during the timeout,” Lashley said of a break with the Bulldogs ahead 15-9.
“We mentally broke down and took ourselves out of the game,” Urwiller said. “That’s just something we battle, and we’re going to have to figure this out sooner rather than later.”

Gering dominated the fourth set, scoring the first five points and leading 14-1 before Scottsbluff scored again. The 18-point victory margin was the Bulldogs’ largest of the game and the match.

“Unfortunately, our last two sets were nowhere in the vicinity of good,” Urwiller said. “But kudos to Gering; they took it to us in those third and fourth sets. No excuses, you just have to come out and play, and we didn’t show up.”
Spreier was a dominant presence in the fourth game, making seven kills and two blocks.

“Kaylee drives us and makes us go, no question,” Lashley said. “She hits the ball well for us and that’s what we have, and otherwise we aren’t the team we are. But at the same time, we have a lot of other people doing their job.”
Senior Leah Newman had 17 digs, two kills, two ace serves and 1.5 blocks for Gering, while junior Allie Boggs had 21 set assists, eight kills, 2.5 blocks and two ace serves; senior Brooklyn Perez made 19 assists, six digs, three ace serves and one kill; and junior Lauren Shaul made seven digs, five kills and one ace serve.
Also, junior Jade Riedel had four digs with three kills and three assists; sophomore Joslyn Olsson had 2.5 blocks and one kill; senior Mikayla Kreider had two ace serves; junior Sara Schwartzkopf had two digs; junior Zoe Van Dyke made two digs; and junior Abby Kiesel had one dig.

“Leah Newman played a great game,” Lashley said. “She played very good defense and her passing the ball was excellent. Lauren Shaul played well; she struggled a little bit early in passing and we got her to adjust her feet a little bit and get up to the ball and things went well. Jade Riedel does a great job defensively and offensively for us, and we served the ball really well and that was the combination of a lot of people.

“We’ve always had the kills. That’s not what makes the difference for us, it’s everything else. We don’t let the ball hit the floor. When we get the good pass, when we get the great dig, that’s what makes us go.”

For Scottsbluff, senior Kyra Willats had 14 digs, 40 assist and one ace serve; junior Chesney Walker made 14 digs, nine kills one block and one ace serve; junior Kelli Wentz had 19 digs, three kills and two ace serves; sophomore Avery Krentz had 11 digs, eight kills and one ace serve; junior Aly Camacho made six kills and three blocks; sophomore Sally Welsh had seven assists and six digs; sophomore Alli Leever had 17 digs; and junior Stacea Pauli scored two digs.

Both teams were then off until they had home matches Tuesday night, with Gering (14-14) playing host to Sidney (8-16) and Alliance (14-10) visiting Scottsbluff (8-16).
The Bulldogs will then entertain Bridgeport (14-10) today (Thursday) at 7 p.m., while the Bearcats play host to North Platte (20-5) at 6 p.m. in the final home matches for both Gering and Scottsbluff. The Bulldogs and Bearcats then will be among the teams in Saturday’s Alliance Pilfold Pink-Out Invitational.

“I think we’re gaining as the season goes, which is exactly what we want,” Spreier said. “We want to do pretty well in districts and host a sub-state game.”

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