SAVANNAH DECOFF goes up for a kill during action against Franklin Sept. 24. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
October 01, 2012ALTON — After struggling to break through in the Division III ranks, the Prospect Mountain volleyball team had its moment in the sun last week.
The Timber Wolves picked up their first win on Monday, Sept. 24, and continued with another victory on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
"When I coached previously, Franklin hadn't been that strong, so I wasn't expecting them to challenge us as much," coach Kerry Fitzpatrick said after her team knocked off Franklin for its first win. "But I think we were clearly motivated."
The Golden Tornadoes proved to be a bit more of a challenge than Fitzpatrick expected for her winless team, but she noted that it was a good thing.
"Coming into this, we figured we were going to get a win, but I feel like we got a lot more out of it," the Timber Wolf coach said. "I needed them to stop playing not to lose and to start playing to win."
Prospect got a nice play at the net from Savannah DeCoff and an ace from Zoe Wenzel to get off to a 4-1 lead. They were able to build on that lead behind strong play at the net from Karie Bilodeau and Rosina Montgomery, but the visitors didn't back down.
Franklin rallied to tie the game at 10 before an Anna Jortikka kill put Prospect back up and good play from Nicole Ouellette and Bilodeau at the net earned them a 13-10 lead. Franklin continued to battle back, tying the game at 14 and eventually taking a 17-14 lead.
However, Bilodeau tied the game with a kill and after a great play out of the net by Jortikka, Prospect slowly pulled away. Montgomery got a big kill for the penultimate point and a Kelcey Marsan ace gave the Timber Wolves the 25-20 win.
Game two saw the Timber Wolves fall behind5-3, despite strong work from Wenzel. However, behind a nice play from Jortikka at the net and an ace from DeCoff, the Timber Wolves battled back and took an 8-6 lead. Strong play from Marsan and Bilodeau and an ace from Jortikka stretched the lead to 11-8 and Montgomery and DeCoff allowed the lead to go all the way to 15-10.
Franklin fought back, however, tying the game at 15 and taking the lead. However, DeCoff and Ouellette allowed the Timber Wolves to keep coming back to tie and Prospect took a 20-18 lead and lead again 23-20 before the visitors were able to score a 26-24 win to tie the match at one.
Prospect jumped out to an early lead in the third game, with Montgomery, DeCoff and Jezel Lee all turning in solid play at the net, while Ouellette added an ace, allowing Prospect to build an 8-1 lead.
Montgomery and DeCoff helped the Timber Wolves build that lead to 112-5 and a pair of aces from DeCoff upped the lead to 14-5. Strong play from Jortikka and Ouellette helped the Timber Wolves withstand a Franklin rally and a Lee ace made it 17-11. Franklin fought back, cutting the lead to 21-15, but DeCoff had a big kill and Montgomery had an ace to keep the Prospect girls a safe distance ahead. DeCoff closed out the game with an ace for the 25-18 win.
The fourth game was another close one, with a Bilodeau block and nice plays from DeCoff and Jortikka at the net allowing the Timber Wolves to stay even through the first 12 points of the game. DeCoff had an ace to give Prospect its first lead of the game at 7-6, but the visitors hung tough.
Good play from Jortikka, Jamie Dwyer, Ouellette and Montgomery allowed Prospect to pull away a bit, but Franklin didn't back down and eventually came all the way back to tie the game at 20. A pair of blocks from Bilodeau helped put the Timber Wolves in front and strong play from DeCoff and Bilodeau closed out the 26-24 win and the 3-1 victory for the Timber Wolves.
"It wasn't the lesson I thought we'd get from tonight, but I am pleased they pushed us," Fitzpatrick said. It allowed us to grow and work out the kinks that have haunted us."
Fitzpatrick praised the work of DeCoff, who turned in a stellar effort on the night.
"Her attack has improved so much and we've done a lot of different drills," Fitzpatrick said. "She's grown so much."
DeCoff finished with nine kills, six digs and eight aces, while Lee had 20 assists, seven digs and two ace and Dwyer had nine digs and one kill.
The Timber Wolves continued their winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Mascoma two nights later.
Up next, Prospect will visit Belmont for a game on Friday, Oct. 5. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the Timber Wolves host Farmington and Wednesday, Oct. 10, they visit Mascoma, with all games set for 6 p.m. starts for varsity.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126