Washington Evening Journal
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WAYLAND — Trailing WACO 20-8 in the third set of a Super Conference North Division match Tuesday, New London head coach Lindsey Johnson called timeout. The 12th-ranked (Class 1A) New London Tigers outscored the home team 40-17 from that point to win the match 3-1.
“I just told them if we are going to make errors, it cannot be where our team is strongest and that is on serve receive, defense and serving,” Johnson said. “We have to make our errors somewhere else.”
New London rallied to 21-17 and tied it at 23, but a Marie Farmer kill and a Katie Leichty ace gave WACO that third set. Farmer had five kills and four aces in the match while Leichty furnished four kills, two blocks and two aces.
The fourth set was all Tigers though, anchored by Natalie Burden’s 12-point run on serve which started at 8-5.
“I was just switching up how I serve, first short, then long and going at different people,” Burden said. “I was feeling it, definitely. I think my best serve is a cross drop float.” Burden had four aces in the match, 16 kills and 14 digs. Aliyah Christensen and Elly Manning combined to set 33 assists. Emma Nye and Christensen had 15 digs apiece.
Ellah Kissell hit a kill for WACO to get Burden off of the service line at 17-6. Kissell finished with 12 kills, 23 digs, and two blocks.
“We got back on track with our passing and with our aggressive serving,” Johnson said. “Kissell is just a phenomenal player so we had to try to take her out of their offense. Their libero (Jocelyn Fulton) has really improved a lot from last season.”
Although WACO won that third set, setter Grace Coble went down with an ankle injury at 22-19. She returned for the fourth set, but was in obvious pain. Coble had 22 assists, seven kills, 10 digs, and two aces. Fulton finished with 31 digs.
“Our blocking and passing got better in that third set and maybe they let off of the gas pedal a little bit,” WACO head coach Jay Coble said. “They took advantage of Grace not being able to move in the back row in that last set.”
WACO is 16-10 overall and 2-4 in the South while New London is 19-11, 5-2. New London hosts former coach Maureen Heath and her ninth-ranked (Class 3A) West Burlington Falcons Thursday. WACO goes to top-ranked and defending 1A champion Notre Dame Thursday and plays in Washington’s tournament Saturday.