PAINESVILLE—North traveled to Riverside on Wednesday with the goal of upsetting the defending champions of the Western Reserve Conference.
The Rangers pulled out a win in the first set but the Beavers recovered and won the next three and the match, 3-1.
“That was a really good match for us,” said North coach Samantha Muzic. “We have been up and down so much, so for us to be able to come out and play like we did was good.”
North trailed the Beavers in the first set, 22-18, before rallying to tie the match at 23 all. The Rangers needed three set point opportunities to seal their 26-24 victory.
“We had a game plan and we followed it,” Muzic said. “We had some hiccups but that’s going to happen. I’m really excited with how we played today and how we’re going to move forward for the conference tournament and districts and all that stuff. I’m really excited is this is what we’re going to do the rest of the season.”
The Rangers are one of three WRC teams to take a set from the Beavers this fall.
Riverside, who is 15-4 in WRC sets played, went on to win the next three sets, 25-19, 25-23, 25-19, but those wins didn’t come easily.
“I think my hitters did a fantastic job of what we were doing,” Muzic said. “Our game plan was to not allow them to hit at us the way they wanted to and we did that more than we did against South on Thursday. We’re getting better and better and what I’m asking them to do and they’re starting to understand it.”
Lindsey Mausser and Jill Borthwick both finished with nine kills while Olivia Oostdyk contributed with eight. Borthwick and Oostdyk both added four blocks.
“We worked on serving aggressively to keep them out of system and we worked on our blocking,” Muzic said of the strategy to keep Riverside’s hitters in check. “We worked on swinging and positions that got their hitters out of position. We are finally understanding that’s the game plan and it’s working. Now if they can do it consistently, it’s going to start falling into place for us.
Taylor Valaitis led the Rangers with 21 assists and Alexis Breen added 17. Kayla Colton finished with eight service points and five digs.
“I think all three of our setters–Taylor, Kayla and Lex–our big thing has been them setting and getting them into the system and learning the offense,” Muzic said. “I think it’s finally starting to click for them between defense and offense. All three of them are doing a fantastic job.”
Avery Tracz led Riverside with 13 kills. Aubrey Low finished with 22 assists and Taylor Reigle closed out the match with 22 digs.