As the first set slipped away, the resolve and determination in the Warriors might not have been seen by the fans filling the Hanson Fieldhouse, not immediately.
But it quickly became apparent as the Waldorf volleyball shook off a disheartening start to the night Friday and together as a team, with the resolve and determination, rallied for a 24-26, 25-10, 23-25, 25-18, 15-7 upset of visiting Presentation College in North Star Athletic Association action.
“It feels great, and not just because it’s a win and it’s in front of our home crowd, but because we came together as a team,” Waldorf head coach Bri Ebenhoe said. “That was a complete team effort.
“From the work we put into practice this week – for it to be shown on the court like that, it feels really good,” Ebenhoe added.
That hard work shown up in the first set with the Warriors (4-17 overall, 1-6 NSAA) grabbing a 24-22 lead after a back-row kill by Rebecca Bartnicki, and it looked like Waldorf would grab an early lead in the match.
But the Saints (13-7, 3-4) showed their determination by rallying for four straight points to win the first set, a disheartening opening setback.
Or so it may have seemed, but, as it turned out, the loss simply brought together the Warriors.
“We’ve been digging to beat certain drills, to work together and to battle for every single point,” Ebenhoe said. “That came out and we decided to battle from point one, and the results were amazing.”
Right from the start of the second set the Warriors played amazing as a Savanna Cordle kill made it 6-1, a tandem block by Bartnicki and Elisabeth Tramm stretched the lead to 12-5, and a Tramm second-touch set over for a kill made it 18-8 en route to a dominating win that evened the match.
After the break, Waldorf tried to take control of the match, forging an 18-15 lead on a Kaitlyn Monck kill, but the Saints found a way to score the comeback win, putting the Warriors back against the wall down two sets to one.
But the Warriors simply refused to lose.
“They decided that it wasn’t going to happen like that,” Ebenhoe said of her team’s determination not to let the win slip away. “It was a complete mental decision, one through 16, to fight for everything, and it turned out really well.”
Down 11-8 in the fourth, Waldorf came charging back with a five-point surge, tying it on a Cordle kill off the block, then got an April Jones block and a Monck kill for a 13-11 edge.
A Bartnicki kill and a Platzek block helped put the Warriors up 4-1 in the fifth, a second-touch kill by Tramm made it 6-2, then a Tramm kill off a Bartnicki set made it 9-3 as the Warriors cruised to the win in the decisive fifth set.
Platzek led the way with 24 kills in the win for Waldorf, which also got 16 kills and nine digs from Monck. Tramm had 46 assists in the win, along with eight digs and five blocks, Jones added six kills and six blocks, and Erica Fee made 13 digs to lead the defense for the Warriors, who don’t get long to savor the victory as they host Dakota State at 1 p.m. on Saturday.