ANDOVER — Some early adversity did not deter Stillwater as the Ponies bounced back to defeat Andover 3-1 in Tuesday’s nonconference volleyball match.
The Ponies (3-0 SEC, 9-3) dropped the first set before climbing back to win by scores of 22-25, 25-17, 25-17 and 25-12. It marked the fifth straight victory for Stillwater, which will host fellow Suburban East Conference unbeaten Roseville (4-0, 7-1) in a key match-up on Thursday.
Bri Horwath led the attack against the Huskies, hitting better than .800 with no errors on the night and finishing with 25 kills — including 14 alone in Game 3. Setter Susan Evans continued feeding the hot hand and she finished with 45 set assists.
“We had a good mismatch on the outside with Bri,” Ponies coach Jamie Suapaia said. “She was hitting really smart and aggressive and they couldn’t stop her. They moved their blocker to try and stop her down the line and she’d hit cross. She really stepped up and did a nice job of mixing up her shots and Susan did a good job of finding her at perfect times. Fourteen (kills) in the third set was really impressive.”
The Ponies had others contribute to the attack with Savannah Sprenger, Brooke Hunter and Steph Houle contributing 10 kills apiece. Stephanie Dietrich also chipped in with eight kills.
“We’re starting to incorporate our middles and they had 18 kills,” Suapaia said. “They’re getting over 30 sets right now and they’re hitting smart.”
In addition to her setting, Evans also went on a long scoring run late in the third game as Stillwater pulled away.
“Bri had two aces and served well and Sophie (Vick) served well,” Suapaia said. “We just kept them out of system again after the first set.”
The Ponies, who had not lost a game in their previous four matches, overcame that slow start to finish strong.
“I think we just needed to wake up and get back to doing what we wanted to do,” Suapaia said. “We were just making too many mental mistakes right away, we weren’t passing the greatest and Susan was struggling to keep a rhythm with our hitters and if it wasn’t set perfect we were making really bad mistakes and too many unforced errors on our part.
“After the first game we brought them in and said we don’t have to do anything fancy, just stick with what we do best and that’s the basics. I basically put a challenge to them and they stepped forward and did it really well.”