POSEN-After Hillman beat Posen twice in North Star League volleyball matches last season, the Vikings made it a goal to beat their league rivals this year.
So far, so good.
Posen accomplished at least half of its goal on Thursday when they swept the Tigers at Posen High School by scores of 25-20, 25-22 and 25-13.
Both teams opened the match evenly, with neither side leading by more than a few points or gaining much of an advantage. Hillman led 12-7 midway through the first game, but after a timeout, Posen rallied from a 14-10 deficit and took the lead for good behind the steady serving of Ashley Meyers who served up several aces and finished the night with six. The Tigers rallied to within two late, 21-19, but the game ultimately went for Posen.
Posen coach Erin Riopelle said the timeout was important for her team to regain its focus the rest of the way.
"Sometimes they get too in their heads and you just have to bring them in and calm them down a little bit and send them back out," Riopelle said.
Mercedes Kowalski served up two aces and Korynn Hincka added a kill as part of a 4-0 stretch by the Vikings to open the second game, but both teams again played nearly dead even most of the way. Hillman took leads of 17-16 and later 21-20, but couldn't come away with the win. The Tigers' tied the match at 22 before Posen scored the next three points to take the game.
Kowalski had two aces for Posen and Hincka had seven kills. Danielle Rhode added two aces and four kills.
Riopelle was pleased to see a high level of energy from her team, which helped them achieve their goal of gaining at least one win over the Tigers this season.
"Last year Hillman beat us twice, so my goal this year was to at least split with them. So far we're doing good because we won this time," Riopelle said. "My girls were definitely energetic and they were working really hard and even the little things we've worked on before they put into play."
Hillman briefly held a 3-2 lead in the final game, but the Tigers were undone by a fair amount of mistakes and Posen took advantage. After tied the game at three, Posen scored 14 of the next 15 points to take a commanding 17-4 lead. Hillman's biggest scoring threat came late when it scored four points to pull within 11 points, 24-13, but Posen easily finished off the match for the sweep.
With the sweep, Riopelle was happy to see the Vikings get a shot of momentum, but pointed out that Hillman will be very prepared when it hosts Posen later this season.
Now that we know that we can beat them, when we play them again, they'll be ready, they'll be intense and they'll know what they have to do, but that gives Hillman time to get ready too," Riopelle said.
Posen's JV defeated Hillman 2-1 by scores of 25-15, 16-25 and 15-9.