MAYVILLE — So many times when one side mounts a big rally only to have it come up a hair short, it causes a deflating feeling that’s too stinging to overcome.
That wasn’t the case for Mayville’s prep volleyball team Thursday night.
The Cardinals scored eight unanswered points to force a tie late in the second set before ultimately losing the set to Horicon, but Mayville stormed back to take the next two for a four-set non-conference victory.
“As I was handing in my lineup and I went over by the girls, they were already strategizing amongst themselves about what they needed to do better and what happened that they got down,” Mayville coach Sarah Persha said. “They were figuring it all out on their own before I even got to them; they had a plan and it seemed like they were so confident that they were going to come back and win.”
Mayville used the momentum from its big rally to win the next two sets and claim a 25-14, 24-26, 25-17, 25-17 win over the Marshladies in an energetic match between neighboring schools.
“Being able to come back and almost win it (the second set), I think that proved to them that, ‘OK, if we didn’t dig such a big hole for ourselves, that set was totally ours,’” Persha said. “We just ran out of time.”
Mayville made things interesting in that second set with an 8-0 run — capped by a powerful kill by Alaina Wagner, then a Horicon error — that tied the set at 23, but the Marshladies closed things out on Noelle Fassbender’s ace four points later.
Back-to-back kills by Delaney Vetter — on a powerful hit, then a spike — midway through the third set broke a 12-all tie, and that little bit of cushion allowed the Cardinals to eventually pull away and win the set on a block by Vetter.
Mayville was able to overcome a sloppy start to that set, albeit not one that led to any sort of significant deficit.
“We can’t have so many errors in a row,” Persha said. “(Horicon’s) first eight out of nine points were off of our errors. (Our girls) knew that they needed to clean it up.”
The momentum carried over into the fourth set — although after going in front 9-4, the Cardinals allowed a 6-0 run that gave the Marshladies a brief lead.
That’s when Mayville revved back up. And in what was almost a carbon-copy of the third set, the Cardinals broke a 12-all tie — this time on an ace by Moriah Murillo, a kill by Mia Zagar and a tip for a point by Vetter — to go in front 15-12, creating the cushion necessary to pull away.
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A little later, back-to-back kills by Wagner followed by a kill by Laurel Ziska stretched a 19-16 lead to 22-16 and the Cardinals ended up winning the set on another kill by Murillo.
Wagner finished as Mayville’s kill leader with 13. Maggie Vander Schaff added eight and Vetter had five in what was a balanced attack at the net for the Cardinals.
“That’s what makes us such a really strong, well-rounded team is that they can all count on each other — if one player’s down, someone else is able to step it up,” Persha said. “We don’t depend on one player or two players to make all our points — our kills are usually spread out between three or four players. So a lot of girls making big plays.
“And I think that that’s what makes us such a strong team this year and what I’m excited for, is our setters always have three options.”
Meanwhile, it was a very gritty showing by Horicon in a losing effort, perhaps best illustrated at the very end when, with her team on the precipice of defeat, Allison Tillema raced to the back line to save a ball from falling for a point — keeping alive a rally that cut Horicon’s deficit to 24-17.
“They play every point to their fullest and they don’t give up,” Horicon coach Tara Boehmer said. “There were times in our season so far where we got so down on ourselves that we can’t bounce back. But tonight, this team came together — we played a heck of a game.
“In my mind tonight, we won because we played strong — we played with heart.”
MAYVILLE 3, HORICON 1</&hspag3>
Horicon 14 26 17 17
Mayville 25 24 25 25
Horicon leaders: Not available.
Mayville leaders: Kills — Alaina Wager 13. Assists — Chloe Welak 19. Aces — Maggie Vander Schaff 7. Blocks — Delaney Vetter 2. Digs — Megan Schellpfeffer 13, Alaina Wagner 9.