Flying High (Schmidt leads Chargers past Panthers in RRC volleyball tilt)
ELLSWORTH -- Behind 11 kills from Audra Schmidt and 12 team aces, the Westbrook-Walnut Grove Chargers gave interim head coach Kelly Quade her first victory Tuesday night against Ellsworth.
"If they didn't win, I don't know if I could have gone to practice tomorrow," Quade said.
W-WG defeated Ellsworth in four games, 23-25, 25-14, 25-6, 25-18.
With head coach Natalie Ross on maternity leave and another coach in crutches with a broken foot, Quade has acted as the head coach for the past four matches.
Schmidt led the way for the Chargers offensively and defensively. She was 20-21 attacking, and was also 10-11 blocking with four solo efforts.
"I thought this was one of her best games," Quade said of Schmidt's performance. "She always seems to have more confidence when she gets two kills under her belt, and I think once she did that, she came back and kept swinging. Even if there was a block in there, she did it again."
Coming out in the first game, W-WG (3-4, 8-10-1) held a 4-0 advantage behind a block and a kill from Schmidt. However, behind the play of Brooke Kramer (11 kills, 6 blocks) the Panthers (0-7, 1-15) rallied back to take an 8-5 lead.
"In the first game, they played very well," Ellsworth head coach Leah Christie said. "They had a good serve and a good serve receive. I was pleased with how they can come back from a little bit of a deficit. Sometimes once we get down; it's hard for us to get the momentum back."
Tied at 21-all, Leah Timmer scored a point for the Panthers to take a one-point lead. Ellsworth would maintain the lead for the 25-23 victory.
"I think we started out a little cold," Quade said. "I think we had a lot of nerves."
The Chargers recovered in the second game to take a 25-14 victory to tie the match at a game apiece.
W-WG started the third game with a 5-0 run behind two aces from Jenny Hoffman (20-for-20, 3 aces).
After a point by the Panthers, the Chargers went on another 5-0 run behind two aces from Kylie Erickson (17-for-19, 8 aces).
Ellsworth could not recover as W-WG went on to a 25-6 victory.
"It was exciting," Quade said of the third game, "It was good team play; the girls played well."
Leading 20-17 in the fourth game, W-WG's Erickson (8 kills) hit a kill to push the lead to four points.
"It's just those little mistakes that we make at key moments of the game," Christie said. "If we can eliminate some of those, I think we can stick with a lot of teams."
The Chargers finished with a 5-1 run to take the game and the match.
"We've had three losses in a row, so this was a much needed win before we meet up with the Quasars on Thursday," Quade said. "I think the girls played well. Stat-wise, it looked like we had good hitting and wonderful passing."
W-WG will host Southwest Star Concept on Thursday, but Quade hopes the victory will give the Chargers momentum.
"I think this is going to boost them like you wouldn't believe," Quade said. "As you can tell, they are a pretty emotional team, so every great hit is celebrated, so this is exactly what they needed to go into that one."
For the Panthers, Brooke Kix was 10-of-12 serving with two aces and added 22 digs, while Andrea DeBoer had 17 set assists.
Ellsworth will host Southwest Christian on Thursday.