Rather than one hitter and one side, the shots came from a good half dozen attackers and from all angles as Evergreen used plenty of balance offensively to win in straight sets over Patrick Henry, 25-15, 25-22 and 25-18 to raise their record to 10-8 on the season Tuesday night.
“Everybody was pretty much on the same page tonight,” Viking coach Troy Zabawa said. “We talked about being more consistent and reducing our errors, especially our serving errors, and being committed to each other both offensively and defensively. The girls did a great job out there and were really connected.”
Paige Shively and Lyla Nash bumped the Vikings from a one-point first set lead to a 10-3 margin as the junior duo accounted for five kills flying in from the left and right during the run.
Ellie Johnson’s back-to-back aces made it 19-9 then Ellie Johnson scored on a tip, a stuff at the net and another ace along with Lucy Serna’s middle shot to blow past the Patriots in the first set.
6’1” freshman Ada Christman and Megan Meyer split four scoring shots as the Patriots doubled up Evergreen 10-5 early in the second.
Both Johnson’s went cross court from each side and Marissa VanDenk’s sprawling dig over the net found wood to close the gap to 11-9.
Addison Hill’s shot that would’ve been out was right at a Patrick Henry defender who couldn’t escape the line of the ball to deadlock the score at 14.
Four straight Patriot serves and attacks went wide as Evergreen took a 19-15 lead.
Brooke Sintobin’s ace, Shively’s drop shot at the net, and Nash’s bullet down the sideline closed out set two.
“We actually worked on that balance lately because we don’t want to be a one trick pony,” explained Zabawa of his variety of scorers. “We spread the ball and spread the wealth and had girls who aren’t always used to scoring, getting some points tonight.”
The third set went back and forth until Nash broke the last tie with another wood-splitting bomb from the left side and a 15-14 lead.
Then the 5’8” junior scored from the right and nailed an ace, Johnson and Johnson went to work again as Haley’s redirect against the grain caught the Patriots flat-footed and Ellie painted the corner.
Serna scored a tip and Shively drove one through a defender and Nash, with one more bullet in her holster, fired the match-ending shot off a blocker on the left to end it.
“We also talked about putting a streak together win wise getting ready for the tournament,” Zabawa said as the Vikings won their fourth in five matches. “It’s big for the draw and important for us if we want to make a playoff run.”
Evergreen hosts Ottawa Hills Thursday on Senior Night before returning to league play against league-leading Archbold next Tuesday.