The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Stephen McKay
Sports Writer 

Raiders tame Lady Tigers

Strong team effort gives Sidney season's first win


Donna Wiedeburg / Special To The Sun-Telegraph

Maddi Porter, left, and Annalise Lecher celebrate a kill in Tuesday's straight-set victory over Mitchell.

The Sidney Red Raiders volleyball team gave Mitchell (1-1) few openings on Tuesday night as it swept past the Tigers in straight sets at the Cabela's Athletic Facility. The Raiders were seldom challenged on their way taking three sets by scores of 25-15, 25-17 and 25-10.

While the Raiders struggled with their passing game in the season opening triangular last week, Sidney (1-2) now provided senior setter Emily Mahr with ample opportunity to set up the hitters. Mahr concluded the night with 30 set assists.

"I think we were a lot more focused on getting the passes up to our setter and then killing the ball," said Kelsey Knight who drove home 10 kills. "The last game we had Emily running all around and I feel like tonight we gave her a better chance to succeed. Her sets were on and we were crushing the ball a lot more often."

Added Mahr, "I was getting the ball in the perfect spot most of the night. My job was a lot easier tonight."

In addition to the 10 kills by Knight, Annalise Lecher had 15 to lead the team. Freshman Payton Jung gave Sidney a spark with 11 kills. The Raiders were also alert on the back line as Maddi Porter (14) and Abbey Mills (10) reached double-digit digs. Mahr and Knight added nine digs apiece while Lecher and Katelyn Sylvester has six each. Sylvester is also a freshman.

Sidney made an early statement as it jumped out to a 9-0 lead with Mahr serving. The Raiders started with kills by Lecher, Alex Wamsley and Porter. One of the highlights of the run included Lecher and Wamsley teaming up for a block point to go up 8-0. Throughout the first set, Mitchell was never able to score more than four consecutive points.

"I was pleased for the most part. I think they played pretty decent overall," said Raiders' head coach Sarah Wilson. "What I was most pleased with was how much better they seem to be playing. The chemistry is building and we're cutting down on the unforced errors and that's all a good sign."

Sidney trailed for the only time of the evening at the start of set two. Though they quickly fell behind 2-0 and 3-2, the Raiders soon reestablished control. At 3-3, Lecher served an ace to put the Raiders on top. Before Lecher left the line, Sidney had gone out to a 10-3 advantage.

But the second set did not come without adversity. After Lecher slammed a kill to the back line for a 15-7 lead, the Tigers scored eight-straight points to tie the set at 15. But Mitchell could get no closer. Lecher ended the Tigers' serve with a kill and then Porter began a seven-point run at the service line with two straight aces.

"We work on serving every day in practice and try to hit a spot where maybe someone isn't receiving so well," Porter said. "We served short, served long and mixed it up pretty well."

By the time Porter had left the line, Sidney was in complete command of set two at 24-15.

The Raiders were most dominant in the third set. Before long they had a 14-2 advantage as Porter had another long turn as server. During her run, she dropped in another ace. She had six on the night to lead the team.

The Raiders take to the road for the first time this season on Thursday. They will travel past the time line to meet the Sutherland Sailors at 5 p.m. CDT.


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