Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. It’s advise that any farmer or coach will tell you. It’s also advise that the Evergreen girls’ volleyball team heeded when it almost celebrated a pancake-play victory against Dakota Ridge before the point was overturned forcing a replay.
In their 25-20, 25-23, 25-22 win over host Dakota Ridge on Sept. 5, the Lady Cougars managed to hold the ball and regain the serve when it counted, maintaining a low profile and never letting the Lady Eagles to get too much of a lead.
But the climate changed in the final set when Evergreen (3-2) forced Dakota Ridge to play long volleys, then closed the pockets causing them to side out time and again.
With the score 21-20, Evergreen senior Taylor Tremaine held serve knowing that that the match was nearly over and that the Lady Cougars were about to win. Dakota Ridge (0-5) knew it as well.
Even in their own gym with their fans cheering them on, the Lady Eagles couldn’t predict where Evergreen would direct the ball and play got sloppy. Dakota Ridge found itself digging for balls that would probably have gone out because the score was too tight to take the chance.
Tremaine and the Lady Cougars kept the momentum going while containing their excitement. With the fans on their feet poised and ready to react, Tremaine smacked the ball into motion and the Lady Eagles played the angles causing Evergreen to dig and save the ball. Believing that the pancake had been successful, the Lady Cougars briefly huddled and screamed in excitement, while the Dakota Ridge fans jeered. But game officials decided that the ball was down, and they had to replay the point.
Ultimately, victory came to Evergreen but not without a fight.
“I always tell the girls that you can’t celebrate until the game is over,” Evergreen head coach Katie Ryan said. “This was one of those times when I was like, ‘What are you doing? Get back out there and finish the game!’ They were so excited. This was a big win for us.”
Kira Nielander led the charge with 26 attacks and 12 kills. Genevieve DeGrandchamp added 25 attacks, nine digs and seven kills, while Leandra Dobson had 14 digs.
It was a tough loss for Dakota Ridge, one that head coach Nikki Kneuer hopes won’t be repeated anytime soon.
“Disappointed doesn’t cover it right now,” Kneuer, who admitted that they were not expecting Evergreen to bring such a big game, said after the match. “They expected to come out and win and didn’t expect that Evergreen was going to put up that kind of fight.”
Jae Ferrin had 30 attacks and nine kills, while Cierra Weimer added 17 digs for Dakota Ridge.