Lady Spartans tame Tigers, ground Falcons

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Julie Ward goes up for a kill against Windsor at Berthoud High School on Sept. 13.  Paula Megenhardt / The Surveyor

Julie Ward goes up for a kill against Windsor at Berthoud High School on Sept. 13.
Paula Megenhardt / The Surveyor

Even when a team is sixth-ranked in the state – maybe especially when a team is sixth-ranked in the state – there are valuable lessons to be learned in even the most lop-sided of victories.

Hosting Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) cellar-dweller Skyline on Sept. 13, the Berthoud High volleyball team won in a clean sweep, 25-18, 25-12, 25-22. The Lady Spartans thoroughly dominated Skyline in the match’s first two sets, but the plucky Lady Falcons managed to make the third set highly competitive.

Berthoud jumped out to leads of 10-4 in the first set and a whopping 15-1 in the second, cruising to comfortable victories in both sets. At no point in either set was Skyline able to even tie the score, let alone take the lead.

That changed in the third set when the Lady Spartans got complacent. Skyline tied the match at 8-8, took a 10-8 lead and expanded it to 15-12 before Berthoud took a timeout to regroup.

“We were flat, on defense we weren’t moving, we were reaching for balls instead of getting underneath ourselves,” Berthoud head coach Daisha Agho said following the match. “We got a little lackadaisical; it was just an energy issue,” said senior Shay Pierick, adding, “I think that sometimes when we’re playing teams we know aren’t quite at our speed we get a little bit comfortable with ourselves so we need to work on always playing at our level.”

Skyline kept momentum a while longer, holding a 20-17 lead before a side-out returned the serve to Berthoud. With standout outside hitter Julie Ward on the serve, the Lady Spartans were able to knot the score at 20-20 before back-to-back blocks from freshman middle hitter Teagan Holmes pushed Berthoud ahead, 22-20, as part of a seven-point rally. After a side-out and quick point Skyline, the visitors’ second serve failed to clear the net, giving Berthoud the set- and match-winning 25th point.

“We’re taught to watch the hitter when we block, so I was watching her arm and I jumped with her and I was just happy that I got the blocks,” Holmes said of her clutch scores late in the third set. “We’re better than that team and we knew it and had to play like it.”

Despite the minor hiccup in the third set, Agho was pleased with the win but said the message she’ll impart to the team will be, “We have to stay in our A-game regardless of who is on the other side of the court, no matter what opponent we play.”

Berthoud 3, Erie 1

Coming off a highly-emotional win just two days prior against Holy Family, Berthoud faced a potential trap game on the road against TVC rival Erie. The Lady Spartans won the match 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-19, 25-16) but Agho quickly pointed out it was not her team’s best performance of the year.

“Our play was very flat tonight. Our energy level was really low,” Agho said. “It was an eerie night in Erie for the Lady Spartans, pun intended.”

Ward tallied 20 kills in the four sets, while Sophie Kathol added 10 to go with a team-high 19 digs. Pierick contributed four aces and six blocks and Jessa Megenhardt led Berthoud with 26 assists.

The Lady Spartans find themselves atop the TVC standings at 6-2 overall and a perfect 3-0 mark in conference play.

“It’s just there, it’s been there since day one this season,” said Pierick. “We have a great connection with all the players on the court, we all know where we want the ball when we want the ball.”

Berthoud welcomes TVC foe Mead to the BHS gym for their next game on Sept. 15.