On a night the Sturgis volleyball team didn’t have its best stuff early on, the Trojans ignited late to rally for a 3-2 victory over visiting Marshall. Head coach Von Metzger’s squad lost two of the first three sets and rallied to take the final two to improve to 19-12-2 overall and 4-1 in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division.
The Redhawks pounded away from the outside for a 25-21 victory in the first set. Three consecutive aces from Sturgis junior Hollie Myers gave the home team a 20-16 lead in the second game and the Trojans finished it off, 25-21. A 17-11 deficit was a little too much to overcome in the third game as Marshall went on to win 25-21.
“We had trouble matching their intensity,” Metzger said of a hard-hitting Marshall crew. “They were really pumped up to play us, we started out a little flat and we had some serve-receive issues. The big reason it kind of turned around for us was we started serving a little bit better in key spots.”
Metzger explained how the Redhawks favored moving up on the ball quickly on serve-receive and the Trojans countered by trying to target the back line. And though it took longer than Metzger would have liked to adjust to Marshall’s outside hitters, Sturgis finally slowed the Redhawks’ attack.
“[Myers] did a nice job of serving tonight,” he added. “I think she and Kelsey [Metzger] both had a real nice serving night.”
Myers led the team with eight aces, Metzger finished with six and Jamie Lioy added three. Myers also paced the team with 10 digs, followed by Lioy (seven), Morgan Pueschel (six) and Courtney Lovelace (six).
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Rachel Anderson put down 32 kills, Metzger piloted the offense with 40 assists and Anderson led the way with three blocks. Myers, Marchand and Paige Robinson and each added a pair of stuffs.
“We started doubting ourselves a little bit, especially our hitters,” Metzger said of the first three sets. “We started tipping a little too much. We tip the ball fairly well, but you can only do that after you set it up with some nice hits. I thought we started to tip a little too much and get a little safe.”
Just like football coaches preach, Metzger’s message was that mistakes are fine as long as they’re made at full speed.
The Trojans certainly hit the throttle down the home stretch.
“This team has been pretty good about putting things behind them and are able to bounce back,” Metzger said. “We have confidence in our playmakers. Rachel came up huge tonight. We had Kelsey back for the first time in a week because she had been out with a concussion. I thought those two played real well for us tonight.”
Anderson, with only seven errors on the night, did most of her damage in the Trojans’ 25-10 win in the fourth game, which is when teammate Kelsey Metzger knew the match was theirs for the taking.
“I had faith the whole time we would pull through the games we lost, but we played so well that fourth game,” the setter said. “We have a pretty amazing way of fighting through the toughest situation and that is one of the greatest things about us. Never give up on a game and we can always win.”
“[Marshall] really didn’t have an answer for [Anderson],” Von Metzger added. “We needed to feed her and I thought she did a great job of carrying the offense.”
The Trojans never trailed in the fifth game and finished off the Redhawks, 15-10.