The Lady Viking varsity volleyball team hosted their first home game against the Princeton Eagles Tuesday, Sept. 19. Herlong ultimately fell to the Eagles, but each match was full of intensity that brought fans to their feet.
The Vikings were in great spirit throughout the game as they were still hyped from their win against Providence on Thursday, Sept. 14. The girls won the game 3-0 with match scores of 25-10, 25-12 and 25-8.
The non-conference game against Princeton started rough for the Vikings as they lost the first match by a score of 25-19. Herlong then gained the upper hand in the second match and stole the win 25-17. Match three saw an intense back-and-forth battle that ultimately finished with the Eagles on top 29-27. Princeton then won the final match with 25-17 on the board to finish the game with an overall score of 3-1.
Despite the overall loss, the Lady Vikings put on a great show for their fans as they poured their hearts into the game.
In match one, Tearza Altuz brought the Vikings into the lead with four consecutive serves landing Herlong on top of a 15-14 score.
Herlong was then brought up to 17 points after a tip from Krista Carpenter sent the front –row Eagles scrambling.
Throughout the match, it was clear that the Vikings were on their toes as fans saw some amazing saves. With each save and each serve, the bleachers vibrated with the stomps and excited banging Herlong High fans would make for their team.
The first match finished with 25-19 on the board favoring the Eagles, but the Vikings were more than ready to show off their skills.
In the second match, Autumn Thurber earned the first Viking point with a serve that the Eagles just couldn’t manage to return.
Sara Gonzales then took the serving position. After an ace following another serve that lacked return, the Eagles called a timeout to calm their feathers. Herlong was still in the lead with a score of 7-4.
As if drawn to the ball like steel to a magnet, Thurber dove to the ground to save the ball and bumped it over the net, thus granting the Lady Vikings their eighth point.
Thurber was then reintroduced to the serving line as she dealt out an ace. Upon the ball’s return on her second serve, Thurber again dove to the ground twice to earn the team’s 16th point.
With a score of 20-13, Vikings, on the board, the Eagles were clearly tense. With a bump that sent the ball flying to the gymnasium ceiling, the court grew quiet. However, Carpenter broke the silence with a leap and a kill that drove the crowd wild.
The Lady Vikings then earned their next point via a bump by Gonzales that shot to the other side of the net and was then tipped over by Thurber.
At match point, Carpenter served strongly. Upon the return, Altuz and Thurber each set the ball to earn the win.
With 1-1 on the board for the game overall, the third match started off with copious amounts of energy.
Altuz started the third match with a strong serve, and a kill by Jamie Nelson scored the Vikings the first point of the match.
The Vikings and Eagles were at each other’s throats with points and possession passed back and forth between them. With a 5-5 tie on the board, Thurber was up to serve and broke the tie with an ace. She then served another four good serves, including another ace, to bring the Vikings to the lead 10-5.
Carpenter earned another point for the Vikings later on with a spike. She then served five good rounds before the Eagles were able to get a word in edgewise.
The Vikings were ahead with 14-8 on the board, but the Eagles refused to let their confidence waver.
After a couple aces seen from the Eagles, a power struggle began on the court with volleys and great saves until the score reached 16-15, Herlong.
The Eagle aces seemed to throw off the Vikings, but the girls ultimately shook off their slump and found themselves sitting pretty with a 20-16 lead.
Princeton then climbed their way up to 19 points and sparked another round of intense volleys. The score reached ties of 20-20 and 21-21 before the Eagles took over with a 23-21 lead.
The supposed match point had the Eagles eager to get the ball over the net for the win. However, the 24-22 score only motivated the Vikings to destroy Eagle dreams. Herlong bumped back to Princeton, and the unsuspecting Eagles stumbled and failed to return the ball.
The score reached 24-24, much to the Eagle’s dismay, and the Herlong ladies were far from finished.
Herlong earned point 25 with a great team effort that ended with a spike by Dunn.
Though the Lady Vikings were in the lead 25-24, Princeton turned the tables and gained the lead 26-25. Herlong then tied up the score again 26-26, but another Eagle point once again secured Princeton the lead.
Thurber and Carpenter worked together for the 27th Viking point with a set and spike, respectively, but with a few dashes of good luck, the Eagles swooped in with another two points and thus the win.
Match four started well for the Vikings with a 3-1 score delivered from Altuz serving the first ace. She then served the second ace of the match to earn the Vikings their fifth point.
The Eagles finally shook their bad luck, it seemed, as they broke away from the 7-1 losing score and managed to enter the double digits.
Though the Eagles had managed 10 points earned, the Vikings remained in the lead with Thurber behind the serving line. Two aces and another two serves brought the Vikings to the lead 14-10.
The Eagles called a timeout once the score hit a 14-14 tie, and though only the Princeton girls know what was said in the group huddle, the crowd could clearly see it sparked something within the Eagles.
Once the match was back in session, Princeton used the remainder of their strength, teamwork and focus to finish the game once and for all. In the span of minutes, the Eagles managed to secure the 25-17 win, thus calling the game with an overall score of 3-1.
The Vikings played a great game, despite the unfortunate loss.
Herlong coach Penny Thiels said, “This is going to be a good team this year. They’re playing like family.”
According to Thiels, the Princeton coaches made it a point to say that Herlong was the best defensive team they have played against since the season’s start.
In total for the game, Thurber topped the charts with nine aces and seven kills. Carpenter made three aces and three kills. Altuz served 5 aces and had one kill, and Dunn had two aces and four kills