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

By Mike Motz
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Lady Raiders Continue Hot Start

 

September 25, 2019

Mike Motz

Sidney senior Mattie Johnson scored her 1000th kill of her career during the Lady Raider's match against Alliance on Thursday night.

Sidney's Lady Raider Volleyball team continued to tally wins over the course of the week, running up a 9-and-1 record early in the season. New Sidney Head Coach Markus Ehrke has been able to keep the girls focused on minimizing mistakes and communicating effectively on the court, building their confidence as a unit. The Lady Raiders have only lost one match to date, against the number one ranked C-2 Hastings St. Cecilia Lady Bluehawks in the championship match of the Cozad Tournament on September 14. The Lady Raiders defeated the unbeaten Centura Lady Centurians after the girls start slowly with a 25-to-20 first set win, but then held Centura to just six points in the second set to advance and face Valentine.

Sidney methodically dispatched Valentine in straight sets 25-to-17 and 25-to-13. Ehrke said, "We did a great job serving to the correct zones, and pressuring Valentine's passers and serve receivers throughout the match."

Sidney next faced the Hastings St. Cecilia team, and was able to match up well against the physical Lady Bluehawks and take the first set 25-to-18. But the Lady Bluehawks rallied to take the next two sets 25-to-21 and 25-to-17, dealing Sidney their first loss of the season. The positive to take away from the loss was that the Lady Raiders have the talent to compete athletically with high ranked teams like the Lady Bluehawks, and their loss was due to mistakes and errors that can be corrected. Ehrke said, "Hastings St. Cecilia has a very talented group of physically strong athletes. We played well, but just made a few more mistakes than our opponent."

On September 17, Sidney traveled to Chadron to face the Lady Cardinals and Bridgeport's Lady Bulldogs in a triangular meet, and had no trouble dispatching the Bridgeport team in straight sets 25-to-13 and 25-to-11. Mattie Johnson led the Lady Raiders with 10 kills and three aces in the match. The next match against Chadron was a tighter contest, with the Lady Cardinals battling back against the Sidney offense, but unable to string together enough scoring to stop the Lady Raiders from winning the match in straight sets 25-to-20 and 25-to-18. Johnson again led with 15 kills, while senior Nicole Birner had three aces in the victory.

On Thursday, Sidney hosted the Alliance Lady Bulldogs, a great rival to face on Senior Night. The Lady Bulldogs lost a talented group of seniors from graduation including standout Emerson Cyza, but have a strong program with a talented group of varsity players led by 6' 3" senior middle blocker Jordan Hopp. With a fired-up full house, Sidney started fast with a 4-to-0 lead until Alliance was able to narrow the deficit. But Sidney was able to go on a scoring run and open a comfortable lead with big kills by senior Mattie Johnson and junior Logan Holly, and took the first set 25-to-12.

The second set started with Alliance building an early lead off of Sidney errors and defensive lapses, but the Lady Raiders refocused and tied the set at 7-to-7 on a Johnson kill. Sidney was then able to open a lead and prevent the Lady Bulldogs from going on any scoring runs, and sealed the second set on a Johnson ace 25-to-17.

The third set had Sidney open a lead only to have Alliance fight back, keeping the set close until Sidney pulled away and then took the final set 25-to-18 for the straight set victory. Alliance had trouble setting throughout the match due to the powerful serves of Logan Holly, and the Sidney hitters consistently exploited soft spots in the Alliance defense. Johnson had an outstanding night, with 19 kills, three aces, and 21 digs in the victory.

Ehrke said after the win, "This was a big night for our terrific seniors Nicole Birner, Mattie Johnson, Kendra Nesbitt, and Sarah Wamsley. Our biggest goal was to win in straight sets, and we attacked the Alliance defense and served to the right spots to get them out of their system. Plus, Mattie Johnson surpassed the 1000 kill mark for her career which was a terrific highlight to an already electric night."

 

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