Sweep on senior night

Wildcats win 3-0 in the final home game of the season


Photo by Coryn Riedel

Junior Alanna Bankston scores a kill to add to the Wildcats lead. Bankston scored seven kills on the night to add to her season total of 202 kills. “Our motivation going into the game was we wanted to get it over in three,” Bankston said. “We haven’t swept many teams lately, we wanted to control the game from the start. That’s what really kept us in the game and made sure we played our best game.”

Miguel Paredes Reyes, Co-Broadcast Editor-in-Chief, Co-STRIV Executive Producer

On Thursday Oct. 8, the varsity volleyball team took on the #7 Gretna Dragons in their final home game. Before the game, everyone took the time to honor the seniors for their hard work and dedication to the program.

The first set started off with the Wildcats coming out fast, going on a quick 6-0 run, and forcing the early timeout by Gretna. The fast start was credited to two key blocks by junior Alanna Bankston and an ace by senior Sadie Millard. The timeout served Gretna well as right after, the team went on their own 6-0 run to put them back in the game. As the first set continued, both teams went back and forth, but ultimately, Millard West continued to take the lead as Gretna caught themselves playing catch up for most of the first set. Gretna showed some life near the end of the first set. After being down 20-13, they managed to get within four, but back to back Millard kills ended the first set with the Wildcats up 1-0. The early success for Millard West in the game was due to their defense at the net, with seven blocks with Bankston having six of them.

“One thing we’ve learned throughout the season is what keeps us going is the energy,” Bankston said. “The energy from the bench transfers to the court. Keeping our energy and aggressiveness up and celebrating every point— that really kept us up and motivated, especially in the first set.”

The second set started off with Millard West going up 4-1. They were able to carry the momentum from the first set over to the second one by keeping a manageable distance from Gretna throughout the set. The Dragons were able to keep it within one to two points to try and keep up with the Wildcats. A mishandled block by Bankston caused Gretna to take their first lead of the night 10-9. The success for them continued as they forced head coach Joe Wessel to take a timeout down 12-9. After the timeout, Gretna kept on adding to their lead, going up by five points before Millard West scored again. Now down 16-10, Wildcats took their final timeout of the set to get everyone on the same page and plan the comeback they would need to take the set. A 7-1 run made it a tie game at 17 as Millard West refused to give up. Both teams continued to go back and forth and with Millard West retaking the lead with the score at 22-20, the Dragons took their second timeout to muster any last second push they could to retake the lead. But ultimately, the Wildcats went up two sets to nothing, winning the second set 25-21.

“Coming into the game we knew we had the advantage,” Millard said. “In the second set we got complacent; we wanted to come out and finish strong on senior night. We wanted to end off our last home game with a sweep.”

With a chance to put the match away in set three, Millard West took an early lead, but Gretna still kept up with them trying to keep the match alive. The Wildcats’ desire seemed to be greater as they jumped out to a 12-5 lead. The Dragons continued to fight back, cutting their deficit back to three points and forcing a Wildcat timeout. After some more back and forth, Millard West seemed to run away with a lead of 20-16. The Wildcats were able to limit a seemingly close match up coming into the game to just three sets in their final home game of the season.

“At this point of the season we wanted to be hitting our stride,” Wessel said. “To play any team in the top 10 is going to be a battle. We had a game plan and the team followed it very well. We were happy to come out with a huge win for our seniors on senior night.”

Senior Maddie MacTaggart led the team in kills with 14, and Millard was not too far behind with 13. Bankston had seven kills with six of those coming off blocks at the net.

As these girls prepare for districts, there is one regular season game remaining against Millard North on Oct. 12th.