Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Volleyball: Niwot sweeps 4th-ranked Longmont


September 26, 2016

Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot's Mackenzie Fidelak goes for the kill against Northridge.

For some reason, Niwot’s volleyball season starts unusually late compared to other conference teams.

“It’s been that way since I’ve been coaching,” said Coach Preston Brown. “Other teams start in late August, but we always play our first game after Labor Day.”

This year, it was September 6 before the Cougars finally made their way onto a court for the first game of the season. By contrast, their opponent, Thompson Valley, started their season a full ten days earlier, on August 26.

But if starting late put the Cougars at any sort of disadvantage, they quickly overcame it. Niwot rolled past Thompson Valley in straight sets, 25-15, 25-13, 25-18. They followed that up two days later with a big win against rival Silver Creek.

In both contests, junior Mackenzie Fidelak, senior Sarah Falk and sophomore Emma Falk led the Cougars in kills, while Zoe Gonzales was the Cougars’ leading blocker.

Coach Brown was especially pleased with the six-foot-three sophomore’s progress.

“Zoe’s been doing a good job of blocking and generating defense,” said Brown. “She’s been hitting the ball harder.”

On September 10, the Cougars traveled to Monument to compete in the Lewis-Palmer Invitational. The tournament featured many of the state’s top Class 4A teams, including number-one ranked Lewis-Palmer and perennial powerhouses Windsor and Montrose.

Here, Niwot struggled, winning just one of their four matches. While disappointed, Coach Brown was nevertheless encouraged by his team’s play.

“I know we’ve got things to work on,” he explained. “That’s why we wanted to play those tougher teams, to get that experience, to find out what you need to do.”

The Cougars evidently took some of those hard lessons to heart. Back in action on September 13, Niwot made quick work of the Northridge Grizzlies, winning in straight sets 25-17, 25-9, and 25-11.

Fidelak led the attack for the Cougars with an astonishing 18 kills. She had three of the team’s 12 aces, and also led the team in digs, with nine. Senior Brynn Chavez had five aces and 34 assists.

On September 15, the Cougars were back on their home court for a tough conference match against crosstown rival Longmont. Going into Thursday’s game, the Trojans were 8-0 on the season and ranked 4th overall in Class 4A.

Coach Brown said his team wasn’t reading too much into Longmont’s win-loss record.

“They’ve got some confidence,” he said of his squad. “They’re not going to be afraid. If we do the thing we do, it’s going to be a great match.”

And it was a great match…for Cougar fans. Niwot swept the visiting Trojans 25-20, 25-16, 25-19. It was not just Longmont’s first loss of the year, but the first time the Trojans have lost a set all year.

Fidelak turned in another dominating performance, with 19 kills and 13 digs. On defense, Gonzales and Emma Falk combined for six blocks, and sophomore Ashley Bradbury added 13 digs. Seniors Courtney Smoljan and Chavez each chipped in with three aces.

The Cougars were back in action at home against Mountain View Sept. 20. They go on the road to take on Greeley Central Sept. 22, and return home against Centaurus Sept. 27.

(9/6) — Niwot 3, Thompson Valley 0

Niwot (1-0, 1-0) 25 25 25

Thompson Valley (1-3, 1-1) 15 13 18

Kills — M. Fidelak 15, Emma Falk 7, Sarah Falk 6, Emma Shiers 2, Zoe Gonzales 1

Blocks — Zoe Gonzales 5, Emma Falk 4, M. Fidelak 1, Brynn Chavez 1

Digs — Ashley Bradbury 9, Sarah Falk 6, Brynn Chavez 4, M. Fidelak 4, Courtney Smoljan 2

Aces — M. Fidelak 4, Brynn Chavez 2, Sarah Falk 2, Emma Falk 1, Courtney Smoljan 1

(9/8) — Niwot 3, Silver Creek 1

Niwot (2-0, 2-0) 25 25 18 25

Silver Creek (2-0, 1-0) 22 11 25 19

Kills — M. Fidelak 14, Sarah Falk 11, Emma Falk 7, Zoe Gonzales 2, Audrey Richard 1

Blocks — Zoe Gonzales 3, M. Fidelak 3, Emma Falk 1, Audrey Richard 1, Brynn Chavez 1

Digs — Sarah Falk 10, Brynn Chavez 6, M. Fidelak 5, Audrey Richard 5, Emma Falk 2, Ashley Bradbury 1

Aces — Sarah Falk 5, M. Fidelak 1, Emma Falk 1

(9/13) — Niwot 3, Northridge 0

Niwot (3-3, 3-0) 25 25 25

Northridge (2-4, 0-3) 17 9 11

Kills — M. Fidelak 18, Sarah Falk 16, Emma Falk 6, Emma Shiers 3, Audrey Richard 2

Blocks — Zoe Gonzales 3, Emma Falk 3, Audrey Richard 1

Digs — M. Fidelak 9, Courtney Smoljan 7, Ashley Bradbury 6, Brynn Chavez 5, Rachel Priola 4

Aces — Brynn Chavez 5, M. Fidelak 3, Emma Falk 2, Ashley Bradbury 2

(9/15) — Niwot 3, Longmont 0

Niwot (4-3, 4-0) 25 25 25

Longmont (8-1, 3-1) 20 16 19

Kills — M. Fidelak 19, Sarah Falk 8, Emma Falk 5, Audrey Richard 2, Brynn Chavez 1

Blocks — Zoe Gonzales 5, Emma Falk 3, Sarah Falk 1

Digs — M. Fidelak 13, Ashley Bradbury 13, Audrey Richard 9, Brynn Chavez 7, Courtney Smoljan 6, Emma Falk 1, Zoe Gonzales 1

Aces — Brynn Chavez 3, Courtney Smoljan 3, Emma Falk 2


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