Skyview netters topple Colony
The Skyview volleyball team made sure senior night didn't turn into Colony middle blockers night.
The Knights feature a pair of athletic middle blockers - Allison Leigh and Mary Klapperich - who were the tallest players on the floor Friday at Skyview.
Panthers coach Sheila Kupferschmid came up with a plan to contain the middle blockers, and Skyview executed it in a 27-25, 27-25 and 25-17 Northern Lights Conference victory.
Skyview moves to 9-2 overall and 5-1 in the league, while Colony is 8-7 and 3-5.
The victory came on a night when seniors Amanda McDowell, Mary Hauptman, Naomi McMullen, Britanie Whipple and Karlie Self were honored.
"We were ready to win," Self said. "We came out ready to execute and it paid off."
The Panthers definitely did not stop Leigh and Klapperich. Leigh had 13 kills, while Klapperich had eight. Skyview did keep the two from taking over the match, though.
The Panthers served strong, attacked with variety and dug feverishly to pull out the victory.
Kupferschmid said part of the plan was serving hard enough that Colony would have trouble passing and setting up its attack.
"We had to serve tough, but we had to serve in," she said.
The Panthers missed just six serves in the match, but Colony coach Amy Carter said Skyview's serving was able to keep her squad from getting into a rhythm on offense.
Kupferschmid said Whipple, with 10 service points, led the charge. McMullen and Holly Ramsell added nine service points, while Hauptman had seven service points.
Hauptman was responsible for running the offense. McDowell is Skyview's big hitter, and she came through with 17 kills.
Kupferschmid said Hauptman spread the ball around enough to keep the Colony defense from keying on McDowell. Holly Ramsell had nine kills and Marlee Cunningham, Whipple and Sam Reynolds added three kills.
On defense, Kupferschmid said Self had the best game of her career in picking up 12 digs. Whipple had five digs, while McMullen had four.
Self led a defense that, by the third game, had solved Colony's offense and was digging almost everything.
"They were tipping a lot and by the third game we were really picking it up," Self said.
Even though the Panthers played with execution and emotion, the Knights were still a tough mark.
"I thought it was a good match," Carter said. "It was one of the best we've been in all year."
McDowell came up huge in the close endings of the first two games.
"She get everyone fired up," Self said. "She killed it. She was pumped up and it got everybody else pumped up."
The Knights had game point at 24-23 in the first game before McDowell knotted the game with a kill. She also had a stuff block to give the Panthers a 25-24 edge, a kill for a 26-25 advantage, and the winning serve in the 27-25 victory.
The Knights had a 24-20 lead in the second game, but again McDowell and the Panthers were up to the challenge. After Hauptman earned a sideout with a kill, McMullen served out four points for a 25-24 advantage. McDowell earned two of those points with kills.
After the Knights tied it at 25 on a Skyview hitting error, a McDowell kill pushed the score to 26-25. A Colony hitting error ended the game.
"Passing was the difference at the end of the first two games," Carter said.
The Panthers controlled the third game with defense.
McDowell led Skyview with four blocks, while Cunningham had three and Ramsell added two.
Carter said Mariah Weydahl had a great defensive match with nine digs. Maryann Zmuda had 21 assists, while Meagan Vance had seven digs and Kortnie Swenson added three aces.