HINCKLEY – Despite a hiccup in the second game, Indian Creek swept Hinckley-Big Rock, 25-9, 25-19.
After thoroughly dominating the first match, the Timberwolves stumbled out to an 8-2 deficit. After calling a timeout, the Timberwolves rallied to the tune of a 23-11 run to close the game.
“I think that we just got a little bit overconfident,” Timberwolves middle blocker Evelyn Witte said. “We just really needed to keep playing our game, rather than trying too many different things. I thought that when we were losing by that much, we needed to start trying what we know we can do.”
[Photos by Mark Busch – firstname.lastname@example.org]
The Timberwolves (16-9, 4-2 Little Ten Conference) did just as Witte said. Setter Riley Oros had 21 assists over the two games. Witte and Trysta Foster led the team with nine and six kills, respectively. However, the Timberwolves also had seven service errors and only served at an .857 average, something that coach Stephanie Crutcher said needs to get better.
“It’s something that we’ve focused on all year,” Crutcher said. “I’d like us to be up at 90 percent. I know that we went on a couple of nice scoring runs, but when we miss, especially if it’s like back to back or something … that’s what kills us.”
The Timberwolves are the third-ranked team in their regional, which is in less than two weeks. Crutcher said the game plan is to keep working and get better all the way through the end of the season.
“If we run into a bigger team than us, blocking and hitting around those blocks will be important to us,” Crutcher said. “We take a lot of pride in our defense. It’s something that we work at. When we struggle, it’s because of that and our hitting.”
The Royals (3-16, 1-8) did not merely fold up shop after a 15-point loss. After thoroughly getting handled the game before, the Royals pinned the Timberwolves right back, going up early by six points. Royals coach Stefanie Rich said they made adjustments at the intermission that helped them play a much better game the second time around.
“We knew we had to shut down their left side,” Rich said. “[Trysta Foster] has a strong swing and can jump. We needed to try and get her out of the front row as much as possible and keep her in the back row.”
However, the Royals faded and just didn’t have the offensive attack needed to contain the Timberwolves. Headed into regional play as the 10th seed, the Royals will be a mix of youth and experience with three sophomores called up and four seniors in the rotation.
“The seniors have stepped up this year, as well,” Rich said. “Some of them that are not used to starting now have a starting role.”
By the numbers: The Timberwolves’ defense was on point. It compiled 28 digs over two games, led by Chole Stambaugh’s nine.
Beyond the stats: In a very nice moment before the game, the Royals recognized breast cancer survivors in attendance, handing them a pink carnation.
They said it: “It’s a really great feeling to be that confident,” Witte said. “Just going up and know that I’m going to do something good and help out the team. Me and [Riley Oros] were working really well together tonight.”
Up next: The Timberwolves will travel to Leland for a match against Earlville-Leland at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Royals will travel to Plano for a match at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.