Spikers fend off Vikings

Mindy Carls
Sami Mitton of Orion sets the ball during the varsity match with Cambridge on Saturday, Sept. 27, in the Charger gym.

Cambridge stretched Orion to three games in varsity volleyball on Saturday, Sept. 27, but the host Chargers eventually sank the Vikings 24-25, 25-14, 25-21.

The Chargers improved their record to 15-2 overall.

“There are times when we haven’t been able to quite find the right formula for playing that first game at our best,” Orion coach Jack Wheeler said.

“The good part is, the girls still believe they can come back and win because they have,” he continued. “It’s kind of hard on the coach.”

When Cambridge was serving, Wheeler shouted “FBSO” repeatedly to remind the Orion girls, “First ball side out.”

“When the opponent serves, you want a sideout right off that ball,” he said.

Fans saw a lot of changes of possession.

“Their serve receive was pretty good, and ours wasn’t quite as good as it usually is,” Wheeler said.

Coached by Orion graduate Chad Hamerlinck, the Cambridge girls fell behind 13-7 in the first game.

After the guests cut their deficit to 13-12, the Chargers pulled ahead 15-12 only to drop into a tie at 16-16.

The game was deadlocked at 18-18 and 19-19, but Orion edged ahead 24-21.

On the first game point, Orion’s serve was out.

Viking Erica Nimrick had her serve tip the net and drop onto the Charger court with no possibility of return.

Nimrick also served the next two points to produce a win for Cambridge.

In the second game, the Chargers trailed only once, at 0-1. Alyssa Ellison served the Chargers to a 5-1 lead, with Tori Matzen getting a kill during the run.

The Vikings managed to pull within two at 9-7, but after that the Chargers took advantage of a couple of Megan Blumenshein kills to build their lead to 14-8.

Ellison had a kill to give Orion a 17-10 advantage, and the hosts continued to play well as they built their lead to 23-10.

Jenna Nelson’s kill ultimately gave Orion the win and a chance to keep playing.

The rubber game was tied several times in the early going, but Cambridge pulled ahead 8-7 and led until Orion produced a 13-13 tie.

Orion led the rest of the way, with Ellen Garrity getting a kill for a 15-13 lead and Janel Cross and Matzen teaming up on a block for a 16-13 advantage.

The Vikings trailed by eight at 24-16 but slashed their deficit to three at 24-21 before a Blumenshein kill secured the match for the Chargers.

Orion served 10 aces. Ellison and Blumenshein landed three each; Sami Mitton, two; and Matzen and Garrity, one apiece.

The Chargers smacked 44 kills, including 13 by Matzen, nine by Blumenshein, eight by Ellison, four each by Cross and Maddie DePorter, three by Garrity, two by Mitton and one by Nelson.

Of the team’s 38 assists, 23 belonged to Mitton, 13 to Kelly Hutton and one each to Matzen and DePorter.

The Chargers made seven blocks. Matzen tallied five; Cross, three; Blumenshein, two; and DePorter, one.

Orion’s defense racked up 57 digs. Ellison went down for 11; Carine Christal and Hutton, 10 each; Matzen, nine; Garrity, eight; Mitton, five; Blumenshein, three; and Nelson, one.

Conference games

Orion kept its Olympic Conference record perfect at 5-0 with a 25-13, 25-14 win over visiting Farmington on Tuesday, Sept. 23, and a 25-23, 25-20 victory over host Knoxville on Wednesday, Sept. 24.

In the Farmington match, Orion served 11 aces. Mitton delivered five; Ellison and Hutton, two each; and Matzen and Blumenshein, one apiece.

Matzen notched eight of the team’s 23 kills, with Cross adding four; Nelson and Ellison, three each; Blumenshein and DePorter, two apiece; and Hutton, one.

Of the 20 Charger assists, 11 belonged to Mitton, five to Hutton, three to Nelson and one to Matzen.

DePorter blocked two shots and Blumenshein, one.

Orion had only 20 digs. Ellison recorded four; Matzen, Blumenshein, Christal and Garrity, three each; and Mitton, Nelson, Katie LaBelle and Mckenzie Bert, one apiece.

The Chargers landed eight aces during the match with the Blue Bullets.

Hutton was responsible for four of them; Ellison, two; and Matzen and Mitton, one each.

Matzen wound up for 13 kills; Blumenshein and Ellison, three each; and Mitton, Cross, DePorter and Nelson, one apiece.

Orion’s 19 assists were divided among Mitton, eight; Hutton, six; Matzen and Cross, two each; and Ellison, one.

Cross blocked three balls; Matzen and Blumenshein, two each; and DePorter, one.

Of the 32 digs, nine were credited to Christal, six each to Mitton and Ellison, five to Matzen, four to Hutton and two to Blumenshein.