Sports

Warriors knock out Nikes

WAYLAND – The culture is changing for the WACO High School volleyball program.

After a 3-0 victory over Notre Dame Tuesday in a Class 1A Region 8 first-round match, the Warriors are excited about the next game against No. 3 Holy Trinity (32-3).

“We are not afraid of them. We are a program trying to get better,” WACO coach Jay Coble said. “We get four more practices now. For us, that’s great because we are a young team. We are learning to compete.”

WACO took a set from No. 10 New London twice this year.

“We didn’t win, but we hadn’t even won a set from them in a long time,” Coble said.

Laney Graber set a season record for assists (500) when she racked up 30 in the match. Her ability to spread the ball resulted in the Nikes being unable to key on a specific hitter.

“It is a tribute to her and our hitters,” Coble said. “She should get the career record early next year. She is so smart and getting smarter.”

WACO took a 13-4 lead in the first set, but the Nikes closed to within 18-16 and 20-18 before a kill by Morgan Graber ended it at 25-20.

WACO dominated the second set behind the serving of Lindsey Roth. WACO had leads of 12-4, 16-6 and 21-9 before winning 25-18. A Graber kill got it to game point.

“We were up big and let them back in,” Coble said.

Morgan Graber had 10 kills in the match and Kristen Conley had seven. Clara Schmitz had four kills. Lona Farrier had six kills with no hitting errors. Aubri Garnsey had 21 digs and Schmitz seven. Lindsey Roth had 10 digs. Farrier and Laney Graber each had three block assists and one solo.

“I thought our serving basically won the match,” Coble said.

In Game 1, Roth served 10 times and had two aces. In Game 2, she served nine times and had two aces. In Game 3, she served seven times and had three aces. Even when she didn’t get an ace, her serves would put the Nikes in bad situations.

The third set was a 25-21 win, but it was a battle. It was tied 12 times and at every point from 17 through 22.

Coble called timeout trailing 21-20 and the Warriors scored five of the next six points for victory.

“I don’t know that I have any secret formula,” Coble said. “We are better than that. We shouldn’t have been giving away the points we were and I just told them that.”

With Garnsey at libero patrolling the back row, the Warriors recovered from numerous scramble points that got them out of system.

“Our libero sets the tone for us,” Coble said.

WACO has 16-12 record after going 7-19 last year. The chance to take down Holy Trinity on its home floor happens Monday at 7 p.m.