NEW ALBANY — If Tuesday night’s match is any indication, Silver Creek is one of the better teams in the area — and New Albany isn’t far behind.
Despite a sub-.500 record, the Bulldogs looked good as visiting Silver Creek needed five sets to post a 25-16, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-13 win at the Doghouse.
“I felt like New Albany played with a lot of heart,” Silver Creek coach Jeff Zimmerman said, “but we’re loaded with seniors. They did not want to lose this match.”
New Albany coach Ryan Woosley wanted a win but took positives from the loss.
“We’re starting to believe we can win,” the first-year Bulldogs coach said. “We showed tons of hustle, tons of heart.”
Nothing was decided after four sets and New Albany looked to be in a good spot after an ace by sophomore outside hitter Bree Martin and a block by junior Dani Grant helped the Bulldogs to a 10-7 lead.
Silver Creek answered with a kill and a block by senior middle blocker Kiersten Cooper to tie it at 11. It was tied at 12 and 13 before Silver Creek iced the win with kills by senior Alisha Harbold and junior setter Macie Garrison.
Neither team was able to get much of a lead early in the first set. New Albany edged out to a 6-3 lead on a kill by Riley Winslow and an ace by Saylor Knoy. That lead was short-lived as Silver Creek fought back to tie it 7-7 on an ace by Karli Ware. That was one of eight ties and there were three lead changes early on.
New Albany was on top 14-12 when the Bulldogs stumbled. Silver Creek tied it at 14, the last deadlock of the set, on the way to a 20-14 lead. That 8-0 run was highlighted by three Harbold aces. With a 20-15 lead, the Dragons closed with a 5-1 surge to win the first set 25-16.
Cooper’s work on the front line helped Silver Creek to the lead midway through the second set. Her two kills helped the Dragons to a 13-9 lead.
New Albany fought back to tie it at 20 after a kill by Savannah Meyer and an ace by Winslow and that set up a furious finish highlighted by Grant.
It was 21-all when Grant had a kill to put the Bulldogs on top. Silver Creek answered with kills by Cooper and Harbold for a 23-22 lead. Grant provided the Bulldogs retort with three straight kills for a 25-23 New Albany win in the second set.
Leading for much of the way in the third set, Silver Creek looked to be in control after a kill by Cooper put the Dragons up 14-9.
The Bulldogs, as they had in the second set, fought back. Kills by Winslow and Grant trimmed the Silver Creek lead to 16-15.
Unlike the second set, the Bulldogs couldn’t get over the hump. A kill by Silver Creek’s Brianna Clifford put the Dragons on top 19-16, she added another kill moments later for a 21-17 lead.
A kill by New Albany’s Tess Owsley cut the Silver Creek lead to 23-19, but the Dragons closed it out with kills by Harbold and Katie Hawkins to post a 25-19 win in the third set.
New Albany got off to a fast start in the fourth set, and when Lauren Naville notched a kill, the Bulldogs were on top 6-2. A kill and a block by Winslow helped New Albany to a 12-5 lead before Silver Creek fought back. A trio of kills by Clifford and a kill by Cooper helped make it 12-11.
The teams traded runs until a kill by New Albany’s Meyer tied it at 20. Silver Creek looked to put the match away with kills by Ware and Harbold for a 22-20 lead, but New Albany answered with a 5-1 run. Grant capped it with a kill for a 25-23 fourth set New Albany win.
So it was on to the fifth and deciding set – and it did not disappoint.
Silver Creek improves to 22-5, while New Albany falls to 13-15.
SILVER CREEK 3, NEW ALBANY 2
Silver Creek 25 23 25 23 15
New Albany 16 25 19 25 13
Kills: Silver Creek – Cooper 17; New Albany – Owsley 14.
Blocks: Silver Creek – Garrison 3, Harbold 3, Cooper 3; New Albany – Owsley 3.
Assists: Silver Creek – Garrison 45; New Albany – Weber 25, Stock 25.
Digs: Silver Creek – Zimmerman 21; New Albany – Martin 18.
Aces: Silver Creek – Harbold 7; New Albany – Winslow 4.
~story provided by newsandtribune.com~