It was opening night for the Nokomis High School volleyball team and things went really well for the Redskins... until they didn’t.
Playing on their home court on Tuesday, Aug. 24, the Redskins won game one 25-21 and were in position to sweep the visitors from Central A&M before the Raiders ralled and took games two and three 25-21 and 25-13.
The Redskins led by as many as six early, taking a 9-3 advantage over the Raiders. Nokomis would continue to hold a three to six point advantage the rest of the way out, with Central A&M pulling within two a few times down the stretch.
The last of those runs by the Raiders came late as they made it 23-21 and regained the serve. Nokomis broke serve and Central A&M missed wide on their final kill attempt of game one to give the Redskins a 25-21 win.
In game two, Nokomis jumped out to a 4-0 lead, only to see the Raiders come back with five points of their own. The Redskins regained a 6-5 lead and wouldn’t trail again until late in the game.
Despite playing from behind for much of the second game, the Raiders didn’t let Nokomis run away with the contest. The Redskins’ biggest lead was five points, three times late in the game, but every time Nokomis tried to put away their opponent, Central A&M came roaring back.
Down 19-14, the Raiders got three straight points to cut the lead to two, then broke the Redskins serve after just one attempt to keept it close at 20-18. That sparked a six-point run by the Raiders, who took a 23-20 lead, their first since their 5-4 advantage in the early going.
Nokomis would try to come back, ending the streak and cutting the lead to two, but Central A&M got the ball back and put down an ace for the game winner.
The rubber match between the two clubs would start like the previous one, this time with Central A&M taking a 3-0 lead, only to see Nokomis battle back to go up 4-3.
The two teams would trade the lead once more before the Raiders went on a 7-0 run to take an 11-5 advantage. Nokomis would pull within four down the stretch, but struggled to string together points in the match. Just twice in the final game did Nokomis score any service points, which allowed Central A&M to pile up an insurmountable lead.
Up 20-13, the Raiders went on a five point run, capped by an ace to hand Nokomis their first loss of the season.
The two Nokomis seniors on this year’s roster, Presley Lamb and Skylar Stewart, both contributed heavily to the effort as they combined for 15 service points. Lamb also led the team in assists with 13, to go along with her seven points.
On the attack, Audrey Sabol led the team in kills with seven, followed by Addison Dangbar and Hailey Engelman with three each. Engelman also had five digs and seven assists for the Redskins.
Defensively, Sabol had five blocks, Dangbar led the team with seven digs and Natalie Engelman and Emily Cress contributed six and five digs respectively.
Nokomis will be on the road for their next game as they take on Litchfield at 6 p.m. at Ted Simmons Gymnasium.
August 24 at Nokomis
Central A&M 21 25 25
Nokomis 25 21 13
Service Points: Skylar Stewart 8, Presley Lamb 7. Kills: Audrey Sabol 7, Addison Dangbar 3, Hailey Engelman 3. Assists: Presley Lamb 13, Hailey Engelman 7. Blocks: Audrey Sabol 5; Digs: Addison Dangbar 7, Natalie Engelman 6, Emily Cress 5, Hailey Engelman 5.
Record: Nokomis (0-1).