After losing a competitive first set to St. Mary’s Springs 25-22 last week Friday, the Ripon High School volleyball team put itself in a position in the second set to even the match at a set apiece.
According to Ripon head coach Tracy Landerman, the Tigers took “a pretty decent lead” in the second set and answered a Ledgers’ comeback to put themselves ahead toward the end.
But they were unable to seal the deal as St. Mary’s Springs came back to win the set 25-23 and from there it went downhill as they dropped the third and final set of the match 25-9.
“The second set was probably the deciding game that really turned things around from a standpoint of frustration on our part because we were so close, we were in control and they just got a couple of good breaks at the end to pull off that win,” Landerman said. “Then we came out flat [in the third set] and it was a complete momentum switch.”
The first and second sets were a different story as Landerman noted the Tigers “fought hard in both” and “either one could have gone either way.” One of the reasons Ripon was competitive in those first two sets was their ability to get blocks.
“We had some good defensive plays at the net with hands on the ball,” Landerman said. “... Lexi [Miller] had four blocks by herself. We did some really good things that at least created a time frame where the St. Mary Springs’ team had to think about what they were doing offensively; they had to move around a little bit more.”
While Ripon made the Ledgers work a little harder during the first two sets, it couldn’t quite capitalize due to struggles passing the ball that prevented it from utilizing its offense.
“We struggled with the accuracy of our pass, so that made it just a little bit tougher to put our hitters in a better position to be more dominant,” Landerman said.
She added that miscues defensively hurt the Tigers in those first two sets and that St. Mary’s Springs started to “tip a little bit more,” which caught them off balance.
“[A] difference maker in that second set was that they changed up a little bit more and started to tip and looked for places to burn,” Landerman said. “Defensively, we got caught flat footed a few times and that was the difference. And then the momentum switch was huge.”
In the third set, Ripon dug itself a hole right away and tried to climb out of it. But by then, Landerman noted the Ledgers were in command and the Tigers were never able to get back into it.
Ripon Team Leaders
Service aces: Abigail Radloff 1, Sheridan Zimmerman 1, Erika Mills 1; Kill points: Radloff 6, Emma Pinnow 4, Maleigha Kovalaske 3, Lexi Miller 3, Mills 3; Blocks: Miller 4, Kovalaske 1, Pinnow 1; Assists: Zimmerman 15; Digs: Downs 17, Mills 8, Miller 7 and Kovalaske 6.
Ripon defeats Mayville in three sets
The Tigers had no problem taking care of business against Mayville last week Tuesday, defeating the Cardinals in three straight sets 25-13, 25-20 and 25-18 at home.
Ripon strung together a couple of nice stretches in the first two sets to pull away and had its way for the most part on the offensive end. It rattled off six-straight points in a row with Avery Downs serving in the first set and five-consecutive points with Maleigha Kovalaske serving in the second.
“We had a couple good runs and offensively, we mixed it around pretty good,” Landerman said. “We kept them off balance, kept them guessing where we were going with the ball. It wasn’t like they were trying to key in on one player because [our attack] was fairly balanced with several players contributing offensively.”
She added that taking the other team out of their system of play is an area the Tigers have been working on all season so that they can be the aggressors and do more offensively.
In the third set, the Tigers fell behind early as they tried some different combinations on the floor. However, they were able to fight back and take the lead late in the set and hold on to win.
“Clearly, from our standpoint, we were the better team, and it was just a matter of capitalizing [on] that and taking advantage of it and making sure we follow through on our game plan and not get caught up in the tempo of the game because that was a slower tempo game,” Landerman said. “Sometimes you get caught up in that, and we had to make sure that we kept the tempo going on our side of the net.”
Ripon Team Leaders
Service aces: Mills 3, Kovalaske 2, Radloff 2, Downs 1; Kills: Mills 14, Kovalaske 7, Radloff 4, Miller 3, Pinnow 3; Blocks: Pinnow 2, Zimmerman 2, Eva Baker 1, Miller 1, Kovalaske 1; Assists: Zimmerman 28; Digs: Downs 12, Mills 12, Kovalaske 10, Miller 7, Zimmerman 7 and Radloff 7.
Ripon will try to get back on the winning track Tuesday night, when it travels to Winnebago Lutheran Academy.
It will have nearly a week off before hosting Montello Monday, March 29. The match will serve as a Pink Out and Senior Night for the Tigers. It is slated to get underway at 7 p.m.