By Robb Hemmelgarn
MINSTER -- It's been a very good week so far for the Minster Wildcat volleyball program.
One night after defeating state-ranked Fort Loramie in four games, the Orange and Black picked up their second victory in a row, this time over St. Marys last evening at the Minster Middle School gymnasium.
The Wildcats took the first two games of the contest 25-14 and 25-11 before dropping game three, 22-25. Despite a late-game surge by the Roughriders, Minster closed the contest in the fourth game with a 25-18 win.
"We started the season 2-4, but all four of our losses were to state-ranked teams," explained Minster head coach Rick Carter. "We won last night in four games and tonight in four games, but we still have a lot of room for improvement. Parts of our game looked very solid, but there are some parts we need to continue to work on. I give St. Marys a lot of credit, they fought back in the third game tonight to win and gave us a battle in the fourth game as well."
Minster led the entire first game, methodically building its lead point-by-point behind solid defense and good service rotations by Jody Westerheide and Abby Rosengarten. The Wildcats eventually rolled on to the 25-14 victory. Game two was much of the same, as the Wildcats pounded out three or four points each time serving, while the Roughriders could find no consistency from behind the server's stripe.
With her team in charge 21-11, senior Laura Gruber knocked over four straight points to help the Wildcats secure the 14-point victory.
Looking to put the finishing touches on the visitors in game three, the Wildcats faced their first deficit of the evening when St. Marys moved ahead 2-1. The two teams traded the lead over the course of the next few minutes before Minster began to stockpile its points, eventually taking a 17-11 lead.
Just as fans began to gather their kids and pack up their belongings, the Roughriders began to rally. The tilt was tied at 18, 19, 20, and 21 points before they buried Minster by the 25-22 final.
"I'm proud of the way the girls were able to battle back tonight in the third game," remarked St. Marys head coach Tricia Naseman. "It has been a pattern for us this season to get behind and then have to fight back. It happened again tonight, and even though I'm pleased we didn't fold, we need to start playing well from the start rather than put ourselves in position where we have to play catch-up."
Aided by the precise serving of Laura Morsey and Laura Gruber, the Wildcats built an early 12-3 lead in game number four. Over the remainder of the encounter, the Roughriders pulled as close as four points at 22-18, but from there it was all Minster as it improved to 4-4 on the season with the 25-18 win in the final game.
With junior standout Danae Spieles officially out for the remainder of the season, Carter is looking to the rest of his lineup to pick up their games.
"We were all planning on Danae being back this week, but now we need to make adjustments to deal with her being out the rest of the way," commented Carter. "Laura Morsey and Courtney Overman both played very well tonight and hopefully we can all continue to step up and improve overall as the season goes on."
The Wildcats return to action Thursday when they host the Delphos St. John's Blue Jays, while St. Marys will face the Wapakoneta Redskins.
The junior varsity match was won by Minster in two games, 25-11 and 25-11.