With bright new lighting and a new parquet floor installed in the Dawg House, the North Platte High School volleyball team dazzled in its season opener on Thursday, sweeping Ogallala and Sidney."I was little bit nervous but not too bad," NPHS coach Laura Miller said. "The kids have been working really hard and they had a great practice last night. It's their time to shine now. I was pleased with the way they came out and the way they played tonight."
In the first match against Sidney (0-2), the Lady Bulldogs won 25-18, 25-20. They fell behind 5-1 in the first set. But it didn't take long for them to tie at eight all with a kill by Kaitlyn Hansen and they took the lead on the next play.
Both teams battled until North Platte got some breathing room, up 17-14 after Gabby Menghini served for an ace and that was enough momentum to take the first set.
The Lady Dawgs won the first five points of the second set with Hansen serving. But the Red Raiders stormed back to tie at 10 after an ace by Mattie Johnson. But Johnson served the ball into the net on the next play and NPHS won the next three points.
From there, the Bulldogs pulled away and the lead became 17-11 and they finished Sidney off shortly thereafter.
"We started off just a little bit slower there," Miller said. "Sidney's got some good hitters. They're gonna be really good toward the mid to latter part of the season. We had a few touches on the ball that helped us but they were hitting hard."
North Platte then swept Ogallala 25-23, 25-20 in the next match. The first set between the two teams was evenly played. With the score tied at 23, Sami Mauch made a kill on the left side to give the Lady Bulldogs setpoint and on the next play, Rylee Dehning hit the ball into the net to end it.
Then after the first 10 points of the second set, the Lady Dawgs started to distance themselves. They took a 12-11 lead when Peyton Negley got an ace off the tape of the net. Then on the next play, Negley got an ace to make it a two-point lead before a hitting error by the Indians made it 14-11.
NPHS held the lead the rest of the way. Ogallala only had one more point in service before the Bulldogs ended it.
In the second set, North Platte started to match the Lady Indians' intensity on the defensive end and that was the difference.
"I thought we played great defense," Miller said. "That's amazing. If we continue to play defense like that, we're gonna be real sound offensively and defensively. I'm excited by how we started (the season) tonight."