Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@Lhvc.com 

Volleyball: Niwot and Holy Family battle it out in five-set thriller

 

November 2, 2017

Jocelyn Rowley

Mackenzie Fidelak, Emma Falk and Emma Shiers wait for the ball against Holy Family on Oct. 23.

The Niwot Cougars will have to wait a few more weeks for their next chance to avenge last year’s heartbreaking playoff loss to Holy Family. Last Monday night, Ali Travis and the Tigers clawed their way back from an 0-2 deficit to hand Niwot its third loss of the season, 25-23, 25-23, 15-25, 17-25, 15-17.

Niwot head coach Daisha Agho praised her team’s effort following the hard-fought match, but was disappointed with her inability to adjust to Holy Family’s attack.

“I’m glad to see we can still play at this caliber even though we’re a little banged up,” she said following the hard fought match. “Defensively, I thought we could be a bit more disciplined. There should not be a reason that team gets that many kills in that one spot on us over and over again.”

Back-row struggles have intermittently plagued the Cougars all season long, and were finally their undoing against the Tigers. The match nearly went an entirely different way, however. Led by Mackenzie Fidelak on the attack and juniors Emma Falk and Zoey Gonzales at the net, Niwot took the first two sets and a surprise sweep seemed in the offing. Falk and Gonzales ended the night with eight blocks apiece, while Fidelak had 15 kills, six in the second set alone.

Holy Family was not about to just go quietly, however. The Tigers stormed back in the third set, taking advantage of a clearly flustered Niwot squad and winning 10 points in a row to close it out. With the wind in their sails, the Tigers then took the fourth set easily as well.

Though momentum seemed to be on Holy Family’s side going into the decisive fifth set, the Cougars’ big hitters kept the score close, with key points from Falk, Gonzales, and senior Mackenzie Fidelak, who had four of her 15 kills on the night. Unfortunately, the Tigers took advantage of one unforced error too many by Niwot, and won the final set 17-15.

Following the match, sophomore Emma Shiers said the Cougars were already looking forward to seeing the Tigers again in next month’s Class 4A playoffs. “I don’t think we were outplayed, I

think it was just a really good competition. We’re really excited for state because we know we’re going to see them there. We’re ready to come out with more fire than we did this time." Shiers had a season-high eight kills as well as eight digs and two blocks on the night.

Gonzales and Falk had ended the night with a combined 17 kills, while junior Audrey Richard, back in the lineup after missing a week due to injury, had eight kills and seven digs. Senior Julia Stephenson had a big night up front, with five blocks, while Fidelak had three. Junior Katie Hirsh had 31 assists, and Katie Pearson led the team with nine digs. Senior Rachel Priola had her first kill of the year in the fourth set, and also had eight digs. The Cougars were without setter Madison Schroeder, who has been nursing an injured foot, but she rejoined the team last weekend.

The Cougars wrapped up the regular season at the Ponderosa Mustang Classic on Oct. 27-28. Niwot went 2-2 on the weekend, with wins against Ponderosa (9-14) and Durango (16-7), and losses to Douglas County (10-13) and Chatfield (20-3), which is currently ranked fifth in the Class 5A RPI standings.

Speaking of RPI, the Cougars are currently ranked third in Class 4A, and will host a three-team regional on Friday, Nov. 3, with Niwot playing Canon City at 4 p.m. and Eagle Valley at 7 p.m. If Niwot wins the three-team regional, they will advance to the state championships, which will be held at the Denver Coliseum Nov. 10-12.

(10/23) — Holy Family 3, Niwot 2

Cougars (15-3, 13-1) 25 25 15 17 15

Tigers (19-2, 14-0) 23 23 25 25 17

Kills — Mackenzie Fidelak 15, Emma Falk 11, Zoe Gonzales 8, Audrey Richard 8, Emma Shiers 8, Rachel Priola

Blocks — Zoe Gonzales 8, Emma Falk 8, Julia Stephenson 5, Mackenzie Fidelak 3, Emma Shiers 2

Digs — Katie Hirsh 9, Katie Pearson 9, Mackenzie Fidelak 8, Rachel Priola 8, Emma Shiers 8, Audrey Richard 7, Emma Falk 4, Julia Stephenson 3

Aces — Emma Falk 1

(10/27) — Niwot 3, Ponderosa 2

Cougars (16-3, 13-1) 25 24 25 19 15

Mustangs (8-12, 4-6) 21 26 21 25 11

Kills — Emma Shiers 13, Emma Falk 11, Audrey Richard 10, Mackenzie Fidelak 7, Zoe Gonzales 7, Julia Stephenson 1, Katie Pearson 1

Blocks — Emma Falk 7, Zoe Gonzales 7, Emma Shiers 3, Mackenzie Fidelak 2, Audrey Richard 1, Julia Stephenson 1

Digs — Audrey Richard 21, Katie Pearson 20, Emma Shiers 15, Mackenzie Fidelak 13, Madison Schoeder 7, Emma Falk 2, Katie Hirsh 2, Julia Stephenson 2, Zoe Gonzales 1

Aces — Audrey Richard 5, Emma Shiers 3, Mackenzie Fidelak 3, Emma Falk 1, Katie Pearson 1

(10/27) — Douglas County 3, Niwot 0

Cougars (16-4, 13-1) 18 15 23

Huskies (9-12, 3-7) 25 25 25

Kills — Emma Shiers 6, Emma Falk 5, Mackenzie Fidelak 5, Audrey Richard 3, Zoe Gonzales 2, Kate Sebesta 2

Blocks — Emma Falk 4, Zoe Gonzales 1, Audrey Richard 1, Kate Sebesta 1, Emma Shiers 1

Digs — Mackenzie Fidelak 10, Audrey Richard 5, Emma Shiers 4, Emma Falk 1, Zoe Gonzales 1, Katie Hirsh 1, Katie Pearson 1

Aces — Emma Shiers 1

(10/28) — Niwot 3, Durango 1

Cougars (17-4, 13-1) 25 15 25 25

Demons (14-7, 5-2) 20 25 23 18

Kills — Mackenzie Fidelak 12, Emma Shiers 7, Emma Falk 5, Zoe Gonzales 4, Audrey Richard 4, Julia Stephenson 2, Katie Pearson 1

Blocks — Emma Falk 6, Mackenzie Fidelak 4, Emma Shiers 3, Julia Stephenson 2, Zoe Gonzales 1

Digs — Emma Shiers 12, Audrey Richard 10, Mackenzie Fidelak 9, Katie Pearson 9, Emma Falk 6, Julia Stephenson 3, Madison Schoeder 1, Rachel Priola 1

Aces — Katie Pearson 2, Mackenzie Fidelak 1, Audrey Richard 1, Emma Shiers 1

(10/28) — Chatfield 3, Niwot 2

Cougars (15-3, 13-1) 25 18 26 9 20

Jocelyn Rowley

Emma Shiers, Zoe Gonzales and Julia Stephenson stand ready in the front row against Holy Family on Oct. 23.

Chargers (20-3, 6-1) 23 25 24 25 22

Kills — Mackenzie Fidelak 12, Emma Shiers 12, Audrey Richard 9, Emma Falk 7, ZoeGonzales 4, Julia Stephenson 1

Blocks — Zoe Gonzales 8, Mackenzie Fidelak 6, Emma Falk 5, Audrey Richard 1, Emma Shiers 1, Julia Stephenson 1

Digs — Katie Pearson 18, Emma Shiers 16, Audrey Richard 13, Mackenzie Fidelak 10, Emma Falk 5, Katie Hirsh 5, Zoe Gonzales 2, Julia Stephenson 2

Aces — Emma Falk 2, Mackenzie Fidelak 2, Katie Hirsh 1, Audrey Richard 1

 

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