By Mike Motz
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Sidney Volleyball Season Ends


November 7, 2018

Mike Motz

The Lady Raiders show their disappointment after falling just short of rallying from two sets down against the Grand Island North West team.

Sidney's Lady Raider volleyball team faced Grand Island North West in the B-6 District Finals on Saturday afternoon, and lost after a furious comeback from two sets down fell just short in the fifth set.

The Lady Raiders finished their their season with a 26-and-9 record, 5-and-4 in district.

The Lady Raiders started the match slowly in front of a home capacity crowd, as the energized North West team quickly tied the first set after Sidney opened with a 3-to-0 lead and the teams battled back and forth. With the set tied at 22, the North West team was able to win the last three points to take the first set 25-to-23.

The second set had Sidney playing from behind until an ace serve by junior Kendra Nesbitt started a rally that had Sidney tie the game at 19 with a spike by senior Katelyn Sylvester that brought the home crowd to their feet. Sidney's rally fell short, however, as North West was able to hold off the Lady Raiders to take the second set 25-to-23 for a 2-to-0 match lead.

Sidney head coach Lu Howard regrouped her team and got them settled down, as Sidney needed to win three sets in a row to take the match. The third set started with Sidney playing from behind again at 0-to-3, but the Lady Raiders battled back and junior Mattie Johnson's spike tied the set at 4-to-4. Sidney started to pull away from North West, building a 15-to-11 lead capped by another Johnson spike that met with a roar from the home crowd. The Lady Raiders were at their best, holding off the North West team with strong spikes and timely drop shots that kept them off balance and unable to chip away at the Sidney lead. Sidney took the third set 25-to-19, and had the momentum going into the fourth set.

The fourth set was a tough battle for both teams, as both repeatedly took leads, only to have the other team come back and tie the score. Tied at 22, the Lady Raiders were able to score the final three points and take the set 25-to-22 to tie the match at two sets each, and set up a fifth and final 15 point set to determine the winner.

The fifth set had the Sidney team full of momentum cheered on by a loud home crowd, but the Lady Raiders came out and dropped the first four points to North West. Sidney fought back, and tied the game at six, regaining momentum and energizing the crowd. North West regrouped and traded scores with the Lady Raiders until the set was again tied at 10-to-10. North West then opened up a 13-to-12 lead, and took two of the last three points to win the set 15-to-13, and the match 3-to-2 for the District Championship. While the North West team celebrated their victory, the home crowd stayed and cheered on their runner-up Lady Raiders, who battled with all of their energy to just fall short in the end.

"It was a great season for the Lady Raiders and we all thought that we'd make an appearance at the State Tournament, but we fell a little short. I really thought we were going to win this match, as we played really well for several matches in a row prior to the District Final, but we didn't play our best today. Our serve receive and defense was lacking, and we made multiple unforced errors. Losing by two in the fifth set was heartbreaking, but the girls fought until the end, even when falling behind 0-to-4 to start the last set," Head Coach Lu Howard said after the match.

"I am very proud of the team, and we have a great group of girls who will do great things in the years to come," Howard added.


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