The North Platte volleyball team overcame a sluggish start to turn back Gering 22-25, 25-20, 25-11, 25-23 on Tuesday night at Gering High School.
The win improved North Platte to 4-6, while Gering fell to 5-5 on the season.
Gering head coach Amanda Cochran felt her team could have done a better job carrying out the game plan against a Class A North Platte team full of big hitters.
“I’m definitely not pleased with our team’s attention to detail and carrying out our game plan,” she said. “We had a game plan that would have been very successful had we run it out, so overall I don’t think we played a very smart game, a tactical game. We just went up and hit wherever the ball would take us instead of placing it like we should have been doing.”
Gering started out strong in the match, going back and forth with the visiting Bulldogs throughout the set. A pair of hitting errors and kills by freshman Maddie Ray and senior Zoee Smith put Gering up 22-19. However, North Platte came back with three straight points
before giving the side out back to Gering on a service error tied at 22-22. Gering’s Kennie McFarland came back with an ace serve and the home squad sealed the set win on a hitting error to take a 1-0 lead.
North Platte stormed back in the second set, though. A pair of service runs by Macey Boggs and Smith gave Gering an early 9-4 lead in the set. However, a 5-1 run by North Platte cut the deficit to 10-9 before junior Skylar Sudbeck rattled off four in a row to pull past Gering, 13-12. North Platte finally found the edge late in the match to close out the set on a 6-2 run to even the match, 1-1.
North Platte stayed in sync throughout the third set, finishing it out on a 10-2 run to go up in the match, 2 sets to 1.
Gering battled hard in the fourth set, keeping things close late in the match when senior Elli Winkler served up a 6-0 run to knot the score at 18-18. Both teams exchanged points before Gering got an ace block from Ray, followed by an ace serve from sophomore Sydnee Winkler to take a 23-21 advantage and make a push for a fifth set. However, that fell apart after two unforced errors tied the score at 23. A kill by senior Kamryn Hughes and a lift by Gering closed the door to give the set and match to North Platte, 3 sets to 1.
Cochran said North Platte did a good job of getting Gering out of system and taking advantage of service runs, especially in the third set. Despite the struggles, though, Cochran said the team will regroup and move forward.
“I think they served us out of system and we gave them an easier ball and then they came back running at us,” she said. “We needed to have a better serve receive and we struggled today a little bit. But, no excuses. We’ll come back tomorrow.”
Elli Winkler led the Bulldogs with 15 kills, two ace serves and six digs. Freshman Carleigh Pszanka and Ray followed with four kills apiece. Boggs finished the night with 29 set assists and three ace serves, while Kyla Knight added two aces serves and McFarland chipped in three ace serves and five digs. Smith continued her domination in the dig department with 24.