By Travis Whitton
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — ALEXANDRIA – Wapahani invaded The Jungle of Alexandria for a matchup of two state-ranked teams in girls volleyball and walked away with a 25-21, 16-25, 25-19, 25-22 win to take the match 3-1.
The Class 2A No. 7-ranked Tigers (15-8) fell behind by eight points (20-12) in the first set before winning nine of the next 14 points, but the deficit proved to be too much as they dropped the first set 25-21.
The Class 3A, No. 5 and defending 2A state champion Raiders had the momentum going into the second set, but Alexandria thwarted that by scoring 19 of the next 29 points to take a 25-16 win to even things at 1-apiece.
The Tigers hung tough in the next two sets but weren’t able to overcome the power strokes of Wapahani.
Raiders’ first-year head coach Jared Richardson said that he knew after Alexandria knocked off Southwood that his team would have its hands full.
“They beat Southwood Saturday, so I knew they would be a little bit of a formidable opponent for us – that they would give us a run,” he said. “I thought they did a great job of digging balls. We were hitting some powerful shots – getting in front of them. They contained everything inside the court.”
Richardson said he didn’t know what to expect coming into The Jungle, but he walked away happy with his team.
“Like I said, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’m happy with the result,” added the Raiders’ coach.
Despite the fact that the Tigers don’t have much depth, coach Jeff Harmon said that he was proud of the fight that they showed against their Delaware County counterpart.
“They fought through the whole thing,” he said. “We’re just a team that doesn’t have any depth. We’ve got girls that play JV that come up to varsity, we’ve got three of them, they get a lot of playing time. We’re a young team, so we have to play near perfect to beat good teams.”
After a lengthy talk after the match, Harmon said that he wanted to convey to his girls that they shouldn’t hang their heads after a loss to a powerhouse volleyball program like Wapahani.
“I told them that I appreciated them for fighting hard. That there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said the Tigers coach. “The thing that beat us was just the pushes – five point pushes here and there and breaking down at the end.”
The Tigers’ Allie Hueston paced her team with 22 kills in the match.