Gering's Elli Winkler pounded home 22 kills and the Gering Bulldogs had to dig deep to earn a sweep over a Scottsbluff team that fought to the end in action Thursday at Scottsbluff High School 25-23, 25-20, 25-23.
Winkler finished with a double-double in the Bulldog’s win, tallying 10 digs with her 22 kills. The Bulldogs also received seven kills from Carleigh Pszanka, six from Maddie Ray, and five from Emily Hanson.
Gering coach Amanda Cochran said her team found a way to win despite giving up too many points via hitting and service errors.
“We had a struggle on our side of the net. We had a lot of serving errors and a lot of hitting errors,” Cochran said. “We have to focus on cleaning those up to play a little bit more consistent. We did play hard [on defense]. We had a couple miscues in communication on our side of the net that we have to clean up, but overall it was a fun night.”
With all the errors that the Bulldogs committed, the one that was key for the Gering players was the way they fight through adversity.
“They have a will and they didn’t want to drop a set,” Cochran said. “They are not afraid to play from down, so it is good for us to be in those tight situations and rally back and get the experience down.”
Cochran loved how her setter, Macey Boggs, was moving the ball around, which was resulted in several Bulldogs’ picking up kills. Boggs finished with 42 set assists, while also collecting seven digs and four assisted blocks.
“Macey did a great job of mixing up the sets and really reading the net where the opportunities were for our front row,” Cochran said. “She did a great job.”
Scottsbluff coach Leslie Foral said her team is so close in turning the corner and Thursday night, take away a few errors, it could have been a different story.
“I was just talking to Trevor Bentley up stairs and it seems like it is the same story, different game where we so close and we just can’t piece it together,” Foral said. “We are just not as consistent where I would like us to be. Every night is a different thing for us. We are still trying to find a six-person rotation that just clicks and what works tonight probably won’t work tomorrow night just because of our inconsistence. I am happy that the girls aren’t quitting and they are fighting. We just have to improve on some things.”
Scottsbluff put a stiff test before falling in three sets. Megan Bewley had a near double-double, tallying 16 assists with nine digs, while Shelby Bewley had 10 digs and eight kills to lead the Bearcats.
Foral said her team competed with plenty of defense and blocking. Josie Ammo lead the team with four solo blocks while Emma Herman had three solos.
“We did (have some nice blocks),” Foral said. “It is nice when our front row is there to be the first-line of defense and put up a solid block for us. It helps our back row players to go in behind them. We had at least six net calls on us. We have been focusing a lot on blocking; we just have to be a little bit more consistent on our spacing between the net.”
Scottsbluff started the first set with a bang with Izzy Wright going on a six-point service run to give the Bearcats a 7-1 lead. Scottsbluff couldn’t hold the lead with Gering coming back to take a 14-13 lead on a Kennie McFarland point.
The Bearcats fought back to grab a 20-18 lead behind a point by Gracee Michael. Gering rebounded behind a four-point service run from Arianna Camacho for a 23-20 lead. Scottsbluff tied the game again with two points from Shelby Bewley only to watch Gering win the first set 25-23.
Gering held a 12-6 lead in the second set on three Sydnee Winkler points and led 16-11 at one points. Scottsbluff came storming back on a Cali Wright 4-point service run that included a dig that went for a kill from Shelby Bewley.
Gering bounced back on a Elli Winkler kill and then two points from Jazz Ybarra and won the second set on two McFarland points.
The third set saw neither team go up more than four points. Gering led 15-11 only to watch Scottsbluff tie the set on a Amoo kill and three Cali Wright points. Scottsbluff kept pushing, taking a 20-17 lead on four points from Shelby Bewley and led late 22-20.
Elli Winkler changed the momentum with a kill and then Boggs had three service points with kills from Winkler on all three points for a 24-22 lead. Gering won the third 25-23.
Gering had a lot of players stand out. Ray finished with eight digs; Kayla Knight had three kills; Harrison had five kills and three assisted blocks; Ray had six kills with two assisted blocks, Pszanka had seven kills with four assisted blocks; and Zoee Smith had 23 digs.
Scottsbluff also showed a balanced attack on offense and defense. Izzy Wright had 15 digs and three kills; Emma Herman had six kills; Amoo had two kills; Payton Burda had four digs; Michael had two digs; Cali Wright had 10 digs; and Logan Hernandez had 17 digs.
Scottsbluff and Gering will be back in action on Saturday when they compete in the GNAC tournament in McCook.