By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Fairfield Falcons showed they still have the upper hand in the high school volleyball series with the Goshen Redskins, but the gap between the two local programs appears to be closing.
Fairfield — led by seniors Haley Brown and Sierra Smith with 14 kills apiece — defeated Goshen 25-17, 25-13, 23-25, 25-12 Tuesday night at Fairfield.
The contest was unique from the standpoint that it featured a matchup of mother and daughter coaches. Carla Herschberger is the veteran Fairfield coach, while her daughter Kelsey West is the first-year Goshen coach.
“I didn’t want to think about it and I would hope Kelsey wasn’t either,” Herschberger said. “As competitive as she is I know she didn’t.
“Goshen is improved. I can’t remember the last time we lost a set to them. I do remember being really mad at Goshen a couple of years ago after a set that we won. The players even said to me, ‘Coach, we won that game.’”
West had her own thoughts about going up against her mom.
“I felt like I was echoing her when I talked to my team because I cold hear her telling her team the same things,” she said. “Tonight was a little frustrating because we played so well together as a team last week in our win at Wawasee. Tonight we came out in the first two games with everyone doing their own thing.”
The Redskins turned things around with a win in the third set.
“The third set showed how we are capable of playing and we did it against a good team,” West said. “We passed better and communicated better on the floor. We need to stay more focused like we were in that set.”
Herschberger wasn’t too fond of the fact her team lost after winning the opening two sets.
“We did what we have been doing this season,” she said. “We play really well in the first two and then have a letdown in the third. You have to give Goshen credit because they were serving more aggressively, but when you have a let down like we did the first two things to go are your passing and concentration.”
Fairfield got one player — junior Kelsey Schiffli — back from an injury but lost sophomore libero Alexis Zook to shoulder surgery.
“It was nice to have Schiffli back,” Herschberger said. “She played a little bit in the tournament over the weekend. She played well tonight.
“The other nice thing about having her back is more experience on the floor. We have a lot of experience in Brown and Smith, but most of the time only one of them is on the floor at a time.”
Senior Erin Carlos was credited with 10 digs and Schiffli seven to lead the Falcon defense.
Senior Leah Wimmer ran the Falcon offense totaling 37 assists.
“She did a good job of getting the ball up so our hitters could take some big swings,” Herschberger said. “The setter has to be the leader on the floor and she didn’t play last season. It’s tough to come in like that and run the team.”
In addition to Brown and Smith, sophomore Hannah Siegel had seven kills. Brown and Smith both had three blocks and Siegel two.
“Brown and Smith were huge at the net,” Herschberger said. “Siegel was also big.”
West was impressed with the play of Redskin sophomore hitter Calsey Gruzdov.
“She goes hard on every point,” the coach said. “She does not normally play in the back row, but tonight she did and got a couple of digs.”
Aces — Erin Carlos 3, Jalisa Schwartz 2. Assists — Leah Wimmer 37. Kills — Haley Brown 14, Sierra Smith 14, Hannah Siegel 7. Digs — Erin Carl0s, Kelsey Schiffli 7. Blocks — Haley Brown 3, Sierra Smith 3, Hannah Siegel 3.
Aces — Calsey Gruzdov 4, Kayci Troyer 2, Caitlin Alwine 1, Courtney Troyer 1, Carly Gingerich 1. Assists — Natalie Evans 11, Carly Gingerich 5, Jenna Minier 1. Kills — Amy Harris 6, Calsey Gruzdov 5, Kayci Troyer 4. Digs — Caitlin Alwine 11, Natalie Evans 3, Brooke Miller 3. Blocks — Amy Harris 2, Jenna Minier 1.
Records: Fairfield (11-3) hosts Lakeland Thursday.
JV: Fairfield won 25-19, 25-14. (Fairfield: Makayla Bell 5 kills, 4 digs; Andrea Hagar 7 kills, 1 block; Jenna Stephens 9 assists, 2 aces; Riley Miller 5 digs, Katie Miller 2 aces. Goshen: Aces: Jenna Chupp 2 aces, 1 kills; Jenna Minier 7 kills, 1 block; Jenea Born 5 kills, 6 digs; Jenny Bustos 11 digs; Katie Mullet 5 digs).