Sept. 14, 2018, Sterling, Colo. – In the first game of the 35th Annual Pizza Hut Invitational, the Plainswomen played host to the Laramie County Golden Eagles. Coming off the electric win the night before against the Generals, the ladies wanted to carry that into this game.
Coming out of the gate in the first set, the Plainswomen took the lead before the Eagles took a timeout. The timeout shifted the momentum for the Eagles and allowed them to make a run back at Northeastern, eventually taking the lead. The Plainswomen tried to score a few late to overtake Laramie County, but were unsuccessful and lost 25-23.
The second set was just like the first as Northeastern started by getting ahead, but the Eagles managed to take the lead. The Plainswomen trailed and brought it back to a game, but it was too little too late as the Eagles took set two 25-18.
The third was anyone's game as each team took their share of the lead. It was towards the end of the set when Northeastern pulled away and got the 25-20 win to get set four. At the end of the third set, Kacey Jaeger acquired one ace and six kills. Sara Antic earned seven kills.
In the fourth, it was back and forth, with teams exchanging points. The Eagles started to pull away, and when the score reached 8-4 in favor of Laramie County, Coach Squier called a timeout. The timeout did not work as a momentum shift, as the Eagles continued to score points. With the score reading 10-17, Northeastern tried to make a run to save the set. Their run was not enough as the Eagles came away with the 25-15 win.
Game leaders for the match:
With that out of their system, the Plainswomen faced off against the Midland College Chaparrals. Midland struck first by taking the first two points, but Northeastern answered the call to bring it to a 2-2 tie. From the start, the Plainswomen looked a little sluggish, which could have been a result of sitting a few hours before playing again. It took a while for the ladies to shake their funk, and a timeout by Squier with the score reading 10-7 in favor of Midland couldn't even help them shake it. The ladies made a run at taking it back, but never passed the hump and lost 25-20.
The second set started and each team scored their fair share of points, but Midland had the advantage. The Plainswomen battled back late in the set and won the set after some spectacular plays, giving them the 25-23 victory. Battling back gave Northeastern an edge in the third set, but the Chaps found a way to rally a few points and take a lead.
In true Plainswomen fashion, the ladies kept battling and took the 17-14 lead. The Chaps were a scrappy team and kept finding a way to keep themselves in the game. Northeastern had a hard time gaining a substantial lead over them, as they found holes in the blocks and in the defensive back. The Plainswomen had a rough patch of points and allowed Midland to regain the lead late, 21-20. A few mental errors gave the Chaps a few points to take them to set point at 24-21, but Northeastern knew it wasn't over. They battled back and made it 24-24, but the Chaps got two at the end and won the set 26-24.
With the game going into the fourth set, and the Plainswomen trailing 2-1 in sets, it was go time. Right away Northeastern had the advantage, but Midland rallied a few points off and took the lead. The Chaps held the lead for half of the set, until Northeastern tied it back up 16-16. The lead and points went back and forth once again, but Northeastern strung together a few hits and took the 23-20 lead. With the lead on their side, Midland took a timeout to try and regain the momentum. The timeout worked only temporarily as a strong defensive effort for the Plainswomen would seal the deal and win it 25-23.
Set five; the overtime of volleyball. The time was 10:00 pm and both teams were showing their exhaustion. The Chaps won the flip and chose to serve. Northeastern started the set by going on a 5-0 run, with big kills from Sara Antic and Kacey Jaeger. As they had the whole match, the Chaps made a rally of their own and bring it back to within two. When the teams switched sides, the Plainswomen still had the 8-6 lead. Once again, the Chaps did not count themselves out and battled back and made it a 11-9 game. The first timeout was taken by the Chaps when Northeastern took the 12-9 lead. The timeout helped stymie the Plainswomen and brought the game within distance for the chaps 13-12. The game went the distance as expected, and Northeastern earned the victory.
Game leaders for the match: