Voyager Academy Volleyball team lost on the road against non-conference powerhouse Riverside High School by a score of 3 - 2 Sets (23 - 25; 25 - 21; 12 - 25; 25 - 22; 11 - 15).
Delivering a performance mama and daddy would no doubt be proud of, the Lady Vikings played their hearts out on Thursday night, and showed everyone what they are made of as they battled the Lady Pirates toe-to-toe nearly pulling off another major upset for the ages.
As the clear underdog going into the house of the 4A big brute Pirates who reside 4 miles up the road north from Ben Franklin Boulevard, this was a classic case of David vs Goliath. Riverside High was the heavy favorite in this match-up and expected to crush the dominion Voyager Vikings. But apparently the Lady Vikings didn't receive the office memo, or if they did, failed to read it.
The Captain and crew of Voyager's Starship decided to explore the galaxy from infinity and beyond, as well as hit warp drive to boldly go where no Viking man or "woman" in this instance had gone before. The Lady Vikings used every ounce of Dilithium Crystals along with drained the engine's warp core in an effort to come away with a victory well within their reach. Although they came up just short in the five set epic, the Lady Pirates could only breathe a sigh of relief when the last ball hit the net & floor knowing they had just endured a brutal war versus a very worthy opponent, and lucky to have come away unscathed.
The Lady Vikings wasted little time in Set 1 to send a message to the host that they weren't there to mess around. Each team took turns taking target practice at each other and launched lethal photon torpedoes that didn't miss. Midpoint through the first set, the score was knotted at 15 - 15, neither team was able to take more than a one or two point advantage at any time along the path. When the dust finally settled in the set, the Lady Pirates had barely eked out the first set by the slimmest of margin.
Thinking they had withstood the Vikings best shots, and not knowing what was in store just around the bend, the Lady Pirates were met rudely in Set 2 by Voyager enabled projectiles to the likes they had never seen. Lead by the Viking's dynamic duo of Senior Captain #4 Caitlin Leggett (11 kills, 33 digs) and Fab Freshman #7 Katie McLamb (14 kills, 28 digs), the Riverside delegation could find few answers to the constant pressure and bombardment now encapsulating them.
Leaping out to a 11 6 lead in the set, the Vikings' offensive production continued its proliferation while defensively cohort Seniors' #22 Zarria Bratts (27 digs) and #15 Stacey Oxendine (22 digs) proceeded to consumed practically every form of organic or inorganic matter that came in their direction.
Staggering back to their corner at the end of the second set to seek available treatment for the alien substance that had just overtaken them, the Lady Pirates hastily regrouped to their war room to obtain guidance and to formulate a remedy. After obtaining much needed sideline advisory, Riverside executed their directive to hit back forcefully allowing their forces to take Set 3, and commanding a 2 sets to 1 set lead in the match. The strategy was abruptly obstructed by the unimpressed Vikings's collective who subsequently retaliated with a countermeasure solution to strike fast & furiously, thus claiming Set 4.
Set 5 did not disappoint the enamored audience who remained on the edge of their seats to the very last play. Riverside established an early 8 - 4 cushion only to see it quickly vanish. As both weary teams played on sustained primarily by adrenaline, neither team refused to back down to the other. That's when the decisive set's controversial play found its way to the forefront. With the Lady Pirates clinging to a one point lead 9 - 8, and Voyager juiced up thanks to a four point service run, the head Referee called a foot fault on a Voyager player to unceremoniously end the successful Viking service run.
Review of the inadmissible videotape showed the player was clearly behind the line and had not committed the alleged infraction. Fortuitously, the very next play resulted in a Lady Pirate error placing the ball back in the Vikings' control. The Lady Vikings however weren't able to capitalize as their rally efforts came up short with the sound of the last Voyager service ball catching the net then bouncing backward to the floor.
Voyager "Player of the Game" Setter #3 Kaley Stone (Jr) dished out 23 assists and collected 20 service points in the game. The team's remaining armed forces also included #2 Kamryn Boyce (Jr), #11 Alyssa Greene (Sr), #5 Ashlyn Annis (So), #9 Ellie Stockton (Jr), and #12 Summer Matthews (Fr) who combined for 11 kills. #16 Briggs Rose (Jr) shared Setter duties helping to guide the Vikings' vessel.
Post-game Voyager head Coach Steve DeLuca stated. "We are truly proud of our team. The team on the other side of that court know they were very fortunate today, because our ladies gave them all they could handle."
Voyager Academy (5 - 6 record) take on Southern High School on Friday, 9/8/17. Game time is 6:30 pm.