Lions Battle Through Two 5 Set Wins
Story by Kristin Melvin
Photos by Alexis Mercer
After coming off of a two-week hiatus, the Lions returned to the volleyball court with two very tough conference opponents in Grant and Fremont.
On Tuesday, the Lions traveled to Grant to take on the Tigers for their first game since September 15 and came away with a 3-2 victory. The game was a back and forth battle all night with Grant taking set 1, Newaygo set 2, Grant set 3, and then Newaygo took the final two sets to seal the victory.
In set 1, the Tigers came out ready to go and won the set 25-21 while the Lions tried to find their groove. Newaygo bounced back in set 2; 25-23 and then fell 23-35 in set 3. Down 2 sets to 1, and having to win out the night the Lions offense went to work against a very scrappy Grant defense. Newaygo took set 4, 25-22 and set 5, 15-13. In set 5, Sophomore Emma Mortensen and Junior Kayla Fisk came in at a score of 8-9 and brought some fresh legs and much needed energy to help propel the Lions to a set 5 victory!
Rylee Maat was a force offensively for the Lions with 16 kills on the night while Emma Reyburn had 27 assists. Sydney Maat, Lily Swinehart and Lily Ruehmeir tallied 20 blocks on the night while Emmerson Goodin (14) and Kendall Mathis (12) fought defensively to lead the team in digs.
While Newaygo wanted to celebrate a long awaited win over Grant, they immediately had to look forward to another rivalry and tough Fremont team on Thursday. Thanks to a great Yoga session on Wednesday with Cross Country Coach Mercer, the Lions looked to get back on the court refreshed and energized.
Fremont came into Newaygo undefeated in the CSAA with a big win over Central Montcalm who took a win from Newaygo earlier in the season. Again, it was a battle all night. Both teams fought back and forth with some long, exciting rallies. Newaygo took set 1, 25-22 and then Fremont would take the next two sets 25-23 and 28-30. In set 4, Newaygo played with a different enthusiasm and came away with the win 25-10 to force a game 5 for the 2nd time this week. You couldn’t have asked for a more exciting game 5; point for point most of the game with a couple multiple point leads lead to a final score of 19-17 in favor of Newaygo. Victory Lions, 3-2.
Offensively, Ruehmeier led the way with 15 kills followed by Rylee Maat with 12, Swinehart and Sydney Maat with 8 kills each. Reyburn added another 33 assists on the night. Mathis (17), Goodin (13) and Haleigh Schmitt (11) led the way defensively with a total of 41 digs.
“After being off for a few weeks, we couldn’t have picked a more exciting week of volleyball. We knew coming back both Grant and Fremont were going to be tough, and both rivalry games, but the girls battled through both nights. Both games were a total team effort, in which we had players stepping up in all positions.”
“I am so proud of these girls. Being down in both games, and fighting back until the absolute end, finding a way to pick up a couple big wins against some tough teams.”
Anytime you can come away with two big conference (rivalry) wins in a week, it is a good week.
Newaygo will host Reed City on Tuesday (10/13), and White Cloud on Thursday (10/15).