After taking second in state last year, the North Douglas volleyball team is working to get back to top of the state.
The road to the top ran through Powers last Tuesday when the Cruisers came to Drain. Coming into the clash of top teams in the Skyline League, Powers boasted a 6-2 record. The now 19-5 Warriors – notably undefeated in league – were ready to show that they are the real deal.
The Warriors struck early and went up 11-1 in the first set. After a Powers timeout, Amy Dooley of North Douglas tallied off nine straight serves and guided the team to a 25-5 first set win.
In the second set the Warriors started to falter. Poor passes and missed serves kept Powers close throughout. It got as close as 14-12 but then North Douglas surged away with kills from Arianna Helgren and an 8-0 run, they won the set 25-16.
“The first game… everything we got a touch on was great,” said head coach Amy Campbell. “And sometimes [the game] just turns. And when you don’t have the same fire or intensity, those touches that you get don’t always turn into something that is playable.”
“Volleyball is a funny sport so when you have that fire and intensity those weird little touches that you get can turn into something spectacular. We just had to try to get those back.”
In the third set, North Douglas continued to flounder chances as Powers was determined to make it a match. Point after point Powers was able to grind out points. While it was not always pretty and dependent on the staples of passing, setting and hitting, they tied the set at 14-14, which caused North Douglas to call a timeout.
“I told them that they needed to clean up their game,” said Campbell. “The first two games we had a lot of intensity and fire and we needed to get that back and clean up our game. We had way too many hitting errors and we were just a little tentative and not in our spots. We just lost a little bit of intensity.”
Powers then took the lead for the first time of the match at 15-14 but North Douglas rallied back and the set stayed within two points until the Warriors outlasted the Cruisers at the end to win 25-22.
With the win, the Warriors moved to 7-0 in league play. Campbell, who lost five seniors from last year’s successful team, noted that the team is not at the same level yet but are working to get there.
“I feel like we’re doing well. I feel like we have been steadily improving,” she said.“We had a lot of inexperienced players starting this season. They were skilled but they just didn’t have a lot of court experience. But they work really well together and they don’t give up. We’ve had several close matches where we had to claw our way out and we’ve done a pretty good job at that.”
Over the weekend North Douglas participated in the McKenzie Tournament where they placed second after losing to Culver, the number one ranked team in the 2A classification. Their next match is Thursday when they face Elkton at home. The Elks are currently in third place in league and were beat by North Douglas in straight sets earlier this season.