By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
One of the best ways to counter a tall hitter is with your own tall blockers.
That was what the Fairfield Falcons did to Andrean’s 6-4 junior outside hitter Marija Nicksic in a 25-17, 25-20, 25-11 Falcon victory Saturday afternoon in a semifinal of the Class 3A volleyball semistate at Plymouth.
“Andrean is a good team with sound fundamentals,” Fairfield coach Carla Herschberger said. “We had a good day blocking. We tried to counterattack whatever Andrean was doing,”
Leading the way for the Fairfield blockers was 6-1 junior Haley Brown with one solo and eight assists.
“Brownie is really good,” Herschberger said. “She has the whole volleyball package. She has the mentality of not backing down. When she came in as a freshman some of the seniors got a little made because she would not back down.
“Over the years, I had a lot of middle hitters that were 5-6, 5-7 or 5-8. This year it’s nice to have some size. You can’t coach height.”
Supporting Brown in the blocking department were 5-9 senior outside hitter Kaela Miller, 5-6 senior setter Riley Troyer, 6-0 junior middle hitter Sierra Smith and 5-6 sophomore outside hitter Kelsey Schiffli each with three.
“Sierra had a really good day for us,” Herschberger said. “I think some times she gets overlooked due to some of the other players we have.”
Miller notched the winning point for the Falcons in the first set on a service ace.
Fairfield was leading 7-6 in the second set when Smith and Line took control of things. Three kills by Line and two from Smith increased the Falcon lead to 13-7. Fairfield got the lead up to 19-10 when an Andrean player served into the net. Andrean then put on a charge and closed the deficit to five points (21-16) before a kill from Smith stopped the Fighting 59ers’ momentum. Line went on to record the set point on a kill.
The third set started out close with the Falcons holding an 8-6 lead on a kill by Smith. Fairfield opened a 13-7 lead on three kills by 5-10 senior outside hitter Ellen Line and one from Smith. The Falcons doubled the score at 20-10 on a kill by Brown that forced Andrean coach Julie Wiejak to call her final time out of the set. It didn’t stop the Falcon momentum and Brown ended the set with kills on back-to-back plays.
Herschberger gave credit to her assistant coaches: Kaylene Graber, Elizabeth Yoder and Dave Hamilton.
“I have a great staff,” she said. “They see a lot of things from the bench.”
The coach also recognized her seniors.
“I have a lot of seniors that are not ready for the season to end,” she added. “I knew the class was going to be special. I remember taking my daughters who were on the varsity at the time to watch them play as 5th graders. They were in awe of the fact we took the time to come and watch them play. And it’s not just the seniors. Every girl on this team is a great role model.”
Aces — Kelsey Schiffli 4, Kaela Miller 2, Alexis Zook 2. Assists — Riley Troyer 36. Kills — Haley Brown 15, Ellen Line 14, Riley Troyer 7, Sierra Smith 6. Digs — Raina Troyer 14, Ellen Line 10. Blocks — Haley Brown 1 solo, 8 assists; Kaela Miller 3 assists, Riley Troyer 3 assists, Sierra Smith 3 assists, Kelsey Schiffli 3 assists.