Volleyball: Lady Spartans notch back to back wins

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

Good things come to those who wait, and work, and fight, and never give up.

Playing last Thursday in the Rusty Mathena Gymnasium, the Berthoud High School (BHS) volleyball team picked up their first win of the year in defeating rival Roosevelt 3-1 (28-26, 23-25, 25-16, 25-23). The Lady Spartans kept the streak going on the road Tuesday night in Erie, winning a hotly-contested match 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 19-25, 15-11). 

Photo by Tiffany Rafferty –
Berthoud’s Calli Taylor (left) and McKayla Milan team up for a block in last Thursday’s match against Roosevelt, where the Lady Spartans notched their first victory of the season. 

“It feels so good, we always love beating Roosevelt, they’re a big rival for us,” said sophomore Emma Genger, who was a big part of a dominant Berthoud front row. “It really took us staying together as a team, being there for each other, and we really were a team in this one, and we did it, we won!”

Berthoud Head Coach Mil Santos said getting the win, was “huge,” and noted both the play of the front row as well as Lady Spartans strong serving on the night. “We needed some fire power and I think we got that today. Everybody in the front row was able to contribute in some way whether it’s blocking or hitting or picking up tips off the blockers, it worked out very, very well for us,” Santos said.

The match with Roosevelt was closely contested throughout, yet Berthoud served notice early that they are a far better team than their 0-10 record entering the match would portend. A tandem block from Genger and McKayla Milan gave the Lady Spartans a 4-3 lead early in the first set. Berthoud kept at it with their attack, keeping Roosevelt from pulling away late in the set. A kill from Teagan Holmes, who posted an astounding .385 hit percentage on the night, knotted the match at 21-21, and another from Calli Taylor tied things at 26-26 before Berthoud got the final two points to win the first set.

The first set was indicative of the way the next three would flow, back-and-forth with neither team allowing the other to pull away. As Genger explained after the match, it was the little things Berthoud did that tilted the scale in their favor. “What really made the difference was that our serving was really on tonight, passing right to the setter, and knowing when to tip and when to hit, it was all those little things,” the sophomore explained.

A late rally gave Roosevelt the win in the second set, but the third saw Berthoud assert itself. An ace from Genger and another tandem block from Milan and Annalise Carr put Berthoud ahead 14-7. A later kill from Holmes gave the Lady Spartans a 18-10 lead and, following a Roosevelt timeout, an ace from sophomore libero Allison Waller put the score 22-12 in the home team’s favor, the biggest lead either team enjoyed in the four-set match.

For the first time all season Berthoud was able to keep their opponents off balance from start to finish, something Santos noted was a major factor in getting the victory. “It was probably one of our better serving games. We do work on that during the course of the week in practice, but there was something there today that was just right on. We got a few aces in there and we put them in position where the setter could not dump the ball. She was passing everything in the 10-foot line and beyond. We were able to eliminate that aspect of their game,” Santos said. 

In the decisive fourth set the Lady Spartans took command early, jumping out to a 5-2 lead after a Holmes block. The lead was extended to 6-3 on a kill from Taylor, who joined Holmes with a team-best 12 kills in the match. Roosevelt managed to catch up, but Berthoud never let their rivals get the edge. Late in the fourth set, an ace from Samara Santos and kills from Milan and Alexis Creager were momentum-shifting plays that helped propel Berthoud to the 25-23 win.

Tuesday night’s win in Erie saw another instance of the Berthoud squad getting contributions from every corner of their roster. Junior Logan Nissen paced Berthoud with 10 kills while Genger contributed nine more to go, with a team-best seven blocks. Martha Rennaker and Waller each had three serving aces and Taylor added another two.

Berthoud (2-10, 2-3 TVC) has two home games remaining on the regular season schedule as they will host Mead (8-3, 2-2 TVC) Thursday, Oct. 10 and then welcome Fort Morgan to BHS on Oct. 15.

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