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Niwot volleyball stages comeback; remains unbeaten


October 17, 2016

Going into the Oct. 4th game against Silver Creek, Niwot volleyball Coach Preston Brown had just one mission for his team: stop Rylee Anderson. A junior, Anderson has been dominant for the Raptors this year, and currently leads the Northern league in kills (249) and aces (65).

“We knew we had to get a strong block on her if we were going to win,” Brown said.

Sometimes, though, an athlete of Anderson’s caliber can’t be stopped, she can only be contained. Though Niwot held Anderson to her weakest performance since Sept.15, she still had 27 kills, four aces, and 12 digs.

“Well, we didn’t do as good a job as I would have liked,” Brown admitted.

But it was good enough for a win. Down two sets to one, Niwot battled back from an 18-13 deficit to in the fourth set to beat the Raptors 25-13, 20-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-8. With the win, the Cougars moved to 11-3 on the season, and 9-0 in the Northern League.

Brown said he was very proud of his team’s performance and the mental toughness his squad displayed in the comeback.

Statistically, it was a big night for several Cougars. Senior Brynn Chavez had eight of the team’s 27 aces, including three in the crucial fifth set. Junior Mackenzie Fidelak led Niwot’s attack with 13 kills. She also had three blocks, three aces and seven digs. Senior Sarah Falk also had a solid night, with nine kills, two blocks and six aces, while freshman Emma Shires had her biggest night so far, netting three kills and five digs.

The Cougars were back in action on Oct. 6th, in a road game against the Northridge Grizzlies. Niwot won the match in straight sets, 25-11, 25-14, 25-8, moving to 12-3 on the season, and 10-0 in the Northern League.

As in Tuesday’s match, numerous Cougars contributed to the victory. Fidelak led the team in kills with 11, while Chavez had the same number of digs. Sophomore defensive specialist Ashley Bradbury had 11 digs on the night, while sophomore Zoe Gonzalez had three blocks.

Up next for the Cougars is a rematch against a battered Longmont team that has lost three of its last four matches, followed by a tricky road game against the surging Mountain View Mountain Lions, who haven’t dropped a set in two weeks.

Brown says his team is not taking their recent success for granted, and is preparing for a tough match against the Trojans. “We’ve got a target on our back now,” he said. “Emotions are going to be a huge factor on both sides.”

As for Mountain View, “They have a really good defense,” he cautioned. “We have to be careful that they don’t frustrate us like they did in our first game.”

(10/4) — Niwot 3, Silver Creek 2

Silver Creek (12-2, 7-2) 13, 25, 25, 23, 8

Niwot (10-3, 9-0) 25, 20, 18, 25, 15

Kills — Mackenzie Fidelak 13, Sarah Falk 9, Emma Falk 8, Zoe Gonzales 4, Emma Shiers 3, Audrey Richard 1

Blocks — Emma Falk 3, Mackenzie Fidelak 3, Sarah Falk 2, Emma Shiers 2

Digs — Ashley Bradbury 15, Audrey Richard 9, Brynn Chavez 8, Mackenize Fidelak 7, Emma Shiers 5 Sarah Falk 4, Emma Falk 2, Zoe Gonzales 2

Aces — Brynn Chavez 8, Audrey Richard 6, Sarah Falk 6, Emma Falk 3, Mackenzie Fidelak 3, Ashley Bradbury 1

(10/06) — Niwot 3, Northridge 0

Niwot (9-3, 8-0) 25, 25, 25

Northridge (3-11, 1-8) 11, 14, 8

Kills — Mackenize Fidelak 11, Sarah Falk 7, Emma Falk 4, Zoe Gonzales 3, Emma Shiers 1

Blocks — Zoe Gonzales 3, Mackenzie Fidelak 3, Sarah Falk 1, Audrey Richard 1

Digs — Brynn Chavez 11, Ashley Bradbury 8, Sarah Falk 7, Mackenize Fidelak 6, Emma Falk 2, Rachel Priola 2, Zoe Gonzales 1, Rachel Oliver 1, Emma Shiers 1

Aces — Emma Falk 2, Rachel Priola 2, Brynn Chavez 1, Sarah Falk 1, Emma Shiers 1


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