Volleyball: Longmont hands Niwot first conference loss since 2015
October 20, 2017
When the two best teams in the Northern League met on Sept. 14, the Cougars eked out a thrilling five-set win over the Longmont Trojans that had fans on the edge of their seats the whole way. Unfortunately for Cougars fans, the equally intense rematch on Oct. 10 did not have an equally happy outcome. Niwot came back from a two-set deficit to force a decisive fifth game, but could not pull off the unlikely comeback, falling to the Trojans 16-25, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22, 13-15.
“Obviously it stings,” admitted Niwot head coach Daisha Agho after the defeat, the first to a Northern League opponent since Oct. 20, 2015 when the Trojans beat the Cougars in straight sets. “But it can definitely be a teaching moment and a positive for the future as far as getting the girls excited and having that fire, that will to win again.”
A sluggish start doomed the Cougars, who dropped the first two sets, but rebounded to take the next two. However, another slow start in the fifth set put the Cougars too far behind to complete the comeback.
“We didn’t come out as strong, and I was playing with some lineups,” Agho said. Madison Schroeder, a junior transfer from Prospect Ridge, recently joined the varsity squad after sitting the first half the season due to CHSAA transfer rules. “I was working with them to see which rotations were good, and seeing who played well with each other, and found something finally in the third set, which was probably a bit too late.”
The Cougars were also hampered by uncharacteristically sloppy serving against the Trojans, with a season-high 12 service errors during the match, one of which was game point in the second set, a 23-25 loss.
Mackenzie Fidelak paced Niwot with a season-high 22 kills on the night, as well as 14 digs and three aces. Junior Emma Falk had nine kills and three blocks, and junior Audrey Richard had eight kills and nine digs. Junior Zoe Gonzales had another breakout night offensively, with a personal best twelve kills and two blocks, and once again was active in the offense.
“Zoe really stepped up and got the girls fired up,” Agho said of her middle hitter who is assuming a bigger role on the court. “She was making some shots and running some plays that she doesn’t normally do.”
Though they ultimately lost, Agho felt her team showed heart when they were down 2-0, and thinks the disappointing defeat will prove beneficial down the line.
“That’s something a coach really wants to see, that will to win when they’re down and the odds are really against them,” she said. “That they’re there to fight, they’re still there to pull off the ultimate goal, which is to get the W.
“These girls are pretty resilient, and I don’t think this loss will be too detrimental,” she continued. “They were pretty upset and mad, which they should have been. I think overall the loss might be a good thing in the long run. It keeps them humble, and it keeps them grounded.”
Niwot restarted its Northern League winning streak two nights later against Mountain View, in a rematch of their four-set clash back in September. The Cougars again needed that extra set to dispatch the Mountain Lions, but came back to win 22-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-17. Richard had 13 kills on the night, while Fidelak had nine, and Falk and Gonzales had six apiece.
The Cougars are back on the road next week for two more conference games, against Greeley Central (7-9, 5-7) on Oct. 17 and Centaurus (3-18, 0-12) on Oct. 19.
(10/10) — Longmont 3, Niwot 2
Trojans (14-2, 9-2) 25 25 16 22 15
Cougars (13-2, 10-1) 16 23 25 25 12
Kills — Mackenzie Fidelak 22, Zoe Gonzales 12, Emma Falk 9, Audrey Richard 8, Kate Sebesta 7, Madison Schoeder 2
Blocks — Emma Falk 3, Madison Schoeder 2, Zoe Gonzales 2, Audrey Richard 1, Mackenzie Fidelak 1
Digs — Katie Pearson 17, Mackenzie Fidelak 14, Madison Schoeder 9, Audrey Richard 9, Kate Sebesta 4, Emma Falk 3, Maraya Haynes 2
Aces — Mackenzie Fidelak 3, Katie Pearson 2, Madison Schoeder 1, Kate Sebesta 1
(10/12) — Niwot 3, Mountain View 1
Mountain Lions (6-8, 2-8) 20 23 16
Cougars (14-2, 11-1) 25 25 25
Kills — Audrey Richard 13, Mackenzie Fidelak 9, Kate Sebesta 8, Emma Falk 6, Zoe Gonzales 6, Emma Shiers 1, Julia Stephenson 1
Blocks — Zoe Gonzales 5, Emma Falk 4, Mackenzie Fidelak 2
Digs — Audrey Richard 12, Mackenzie Fidelak 11, Rachel Priola, Emma Falk 6, Katie Hirsh 6, Kate Sebesta 5, Katie Pearson 4, Emma Shiers 2, Zoe Gonzales 1, Julia Stephenson 1
Aces — Emma Falk 4, Audrey Richard 4, Mackenzie Fidelak 3, Katie Hirsh 1, Katie Sebesta 1, Emma Shiers 1