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Early week loss to Kennedy may have been a turning point as Colton volleyball nabs first win two days later

The Herald-Pioneer.There is winning, then there is winning.

In its 3-2 loss to Kennedy on Oct. 11, head coach Shannon Weinberger felt there might have been a step forward in the Colton volleyball program's development.

The loss dropped the Vikings to 0-8 in league play.

"We lost the first and second sets horribly, and one of the players said they felt 'scattered,' an accurate statement from watching," coach Shannon Weinberger said. "We have been battling things much bigger than opponents (this season). But with pride, I get to say they came back. We won the next two sets, they played with confidence, with competitiveness, and with joy."

The Vikings came back to win the third and fourth set and gave Kennedy a battle in the fifth and deciding set, but came up short.

Colton middle hitter Peyton Collins recorded five kills and an 85% attack percentage, while outside hitter Laina West added another three kills on 78% attacking. Sydney Earls chipped in with a pair of kills on the night.

From the service line, West delivered six aces, Cierra Ridenour added four and Justice Hakes came off the bench for a pair of aces.

"Our passing was strongest, with the team getting 65%, which is that magic number that usually equals a win," Weinberger said. "Abby Behrens, our libero, returned 49 of 54 balls with an accuracy to allow two or more hitters to do their thing. I was also extremely impressed with Laina West again passing at 84% of her balls to the middle."

Despite the loss, Weinberger felt something important had been gained.

"I told the girls it was a win for us, for they were dead after two, they were buried 10 feet under, and yet they came back to life. I love them."

Colton 3, Delphian 2

Two days after what Weinberger hoped was a turnaround moment for her team against Kennedy, the Vikings snagged their first league win of the season, a five-setter against Delphian on Oct. 13.

"Our first two sets we came out powerfully and won both," Weinberger said, claiming 25-12 and 25-23 wins. "But we couldn't hold the momentum and dropped the next two. We knew we had to fight bit by bit and made goals of being first to 5, first to 10, and finally, as it worked out, we won each and then the final 15."

The win was certainly a group effort as it seemed every Viking that took the court contributed important plays.

"I especially saw a lot of leadership from my two setters, Hailee Hordichok and Paige Pierce," Weinberger said. "Hailee, in fact, led out serving game by making 20 of 23 and had five aces, a huge difference in what she has been performing at lately, so a great personal win for her."

Pierce added a pair of service aces that were timely during the match, while Ridenour and Earls played key roles in the ultimate win.

"Cierra was pounded on defense and stayed strong throughout," Weinberger said. "No. 10 for Delphian is quite a hitter and Sydney had a monumental block against her that became a momentum-rider for the fifth set that we rode through to the end of the match."

The win lifted Colton's league mark to 1-8 on the season.

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