Noxon volleyball survives five-set thriller with St. Regis
St. Regis' Karmen Alexander tries to get a shot past two Noxon defenders, including Riley Richter (4), who had a big statistical night in the Lady Red Devils win. (Chuck Bandel/Valley Press)
Valley Press | September 15, 2021 12:00 AM
When two teams are so evenly matched and the match goes back and forth as if searching for a winner it’s a shame one team has to lose.
But as was the case in Saturday night’s 3-2 volleyball win by Noxon over their guests from St. Regis, the fans were all winners.
Long vollies saved and extended by diving digs, and spectacular slams were the rule of the night, not the exception. Volleyball was on display and this was an evening where everyone who likes the sport was a winner.
In the end, after four long, hard-fought sets the outcome remained up in the air, much like the volleyballs that flew back and forth across the net for long stretches before falling to the hardwood court and a point for either the host Red Devils or the visiting Lady Tigers.
The opening set went to St. Regis and was a tasty treat of what was to come. Like boxers throwing exploratory punches early in a bout, the contestants on both sides of the net poked and prodded, looking for weak spots to exploit.
After a few ties in the early going, St. Regis bolted to a 17-9 lead, then held off several Noxon charges before putting set one in their win column, 25-16.
Undaunted and as if to say “oh yeah, how do you like this,” the Lady Red Devils bounced back in set number two in much the same fashion as St. Regis did in the opening set.
A whistling kill shot by Noxon standout Riley Richter propelled the host team to a 19-11 lead and they held off several brief St. Regis rallies before locking up the game, 25-18, and in the process tying the match at a game apiece.
With fans beginning to join in the fun with louder and louder chants cheers, set number three turned out to be a wonderful display of the beauty and strategy of the action-packed sport.
Neither team could pull away to a sizable lead as both teams dove for loose balls and scrambled to dig shots of all kinds from all over the gym floor.
The third set was tied six times, including one last time at 23-23 before a net service by Noxon opened the door for a set clinching Lady Tigers shot that put the visitors up 2-1.
And if the crowd was quietly into the action before the volume control was cranked to the max as set number four got underway and the Noxon student section of the bleachers yelled, cheered and even emitted goose hunter’s calls as a means of firing up their on-court school mates.
Set four was all Noxon...for most of the set. The host Red Devils broke out to a 12-2 lead before St. Regis dug deep and the shots they were missing earlier began finding hardwood as the set wore on.
When the set four dust had settled, Noxon emerged with a 25-17 win and a 2-2 match tie.
With the fifth set of such matches going to the first team to reach 15 points, this promised to be the thriller to end all thrillers.
But with Richter controlling the net and hitting blazing shots that thundered off the St. Regis side of the floor, Noxon was able to jump to a large early lead and never look back on their way to a 15-4 set win and a 3-2 match victory.
Richter wound up with a monster night statistically, leading all players with 13 kills to go with her 11 assists, one block and two digs.
Noxon teammate Emily Brown was also instrumental in the Red Devils’ win, accounting for 10 kills, 20 assists and seven digs on the evening.
For St. Regis, senior Taylor Hurd had three service aces and led all players with 14 digs for the match.
Up next for St. Regis is a trip to Arlee this Saturday for the annual Spike It tournament.
Noxon will also be in the Arlee tourney, but will first travel to Charlo this Thursday for a match with Charlo.