“Come on! Who’s going to step it up?”
Those were the audible screams from Wapakoneta’s senior libero Amber Dickerson while her team was up against the wall in the fourth set against St. Marys Tuesday night.
Wapakoneta was trailing in sets 2-1 and in points in the fourth set, 15-11. Things were looking bleak for the Redskins.
After Dickerson’s plea, things seemed to start clicking. With Ashlie Cox on the service line, Wapakoneta won four straight points, tying it at 15. The Roughriders and Wapakoneta traded points for a while, until things were tied at 25.
A kill and a service error later, the Redskins had completed a big comeback in the fourth set. And the fifth and final tiebreak set was ahead.
The Redskins won that tiebreak, 15-13.
“I challenged the girls, I basically asked them if we had any pride? We haven’t been playing with a whole lot of mental confidence recently,” said varsity head coach Keith Rambin. “It’s very odd. We started this week with a record of 10-5, but we play with a confidence like we’re 2-13.”
After winning the first set fairly easily, the Redskins found themselves struggling with the serve receive in the second set. And the Roughriders took advantage and buried the Redskins in the second set.
The third set was more of the same.
Hitting errors, blocking errors and serving errors from the Wapakoneta side led to another loss, and a convincing one at that.
“I told our team at the beginning of the year that our success or failure will ride on the success of two sophomores and two juniors who have never played varsity before,” Rambin said.
Rambin said sophomore Josie Miller and junior Lyndsi Whitmore stepped it up in a big way for the Redskins.
“I told those younger girls they need to step it up, and I think they did that in the fourth set,” Rambin said. “Josie Miller, only a sophomore, sky is the limit for her. She had four blocks on the night. She came in and gave us just enough at the right time.”
Rambin said before the game that he wanted a three-set win over St. Marys, but was surprised at how well they played Tuesday night.
“St. Marys is certainly a lot better than their record would indicate,” Rambin said. “We never get a team’s worst. Everybody always gives us their best. I told the girls, ‘Why don’t you go out there and give somebody your best.’”
The Redskins, now 11-6 (3-3 in the WBL), have seen five matches go into the fifth set. Wapakoneta’s record in those matches is 4-2.
Nicole Brown led the Redskins with 31 assists, Megan Hayzlett led with 11 kills, Dickerson added 22 digs and 4 aces for the squad and Whitmore added 5 blocks.
He said at one point in the fourth set, trailing in points and in sets, pride set in for the Redskins.
“Happy for the girls, even though we are 11-6, we’ve been struggling. They needed this win,” Rambin said.