PIQUA — As pleased as Carrie Nuss is with Sidney’s winning streak, she feels it should have started one match sooner. A victory on Wednesday helped ease any regrets, though.
The Yellow Jackets started the season 0-5, including a five-set loss to Piqua on Aug. 29. A slow start in the fifth game was the difference, as Piqua won 15-6 to claim a 3-2 win.
Sidney won nine consecutive matches after the loss and stretched the winning streak to 10 on Wednesday at Piqua. The Yellow Jackets won 3-2 to improve to 10-5 overall and tie for third place with the Indians in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division.
Nuss and the other players celebrated the win with a large student section that stormed the court.
“It’s pretty exciting for all of us,” Nuss said. “Since I’ve been in high school, we’ve never beaten Piqua. This is a first for all of us.”
It looked like the match may have been a repeat of the August meeting after Piqua took a 5-1 lead in the fifth set. The Yellow Jackets scored seven of the next 10 points to take the lead and then went on a 5-2 run to take control. Piqua cut the lead to 14-12 but was called for a net violation to give Sidney the winning point.
“I think it was a lot of nerves in the beginning,” Nuss said of Sidney’s slow start in the fifth game. “Once we got our heads back together, we were good from there.”
It’s the fourth consecutive match between the two schools to last five sets.
“We just had to focus on one point at a time,” Sidney coach Lauren Morrow said. “… It’s always a tight set with us, so we had to take the game one point at a time and show a lot of resiliency throughout.”
Sidney had just four players back from last year’s team, which Morrow said led to the slow start. She said she’s been pleased to see how the players have come together in the second half of the season after winning a few matches.
“We had a lot of kids with experience in the aspect of club, but they were new to varsity,” Morrow said. “They were learning what it takes to play in a varsity game, what it takes to go five sets. We’ve gone five sets five or six times, I think, this year. That’s a long game for kids who have never done it.”
Nuss, a senior setter, has been a big help to the turnaround. She set the school’s career assists record earlier this season and has 1,314 career assists after tallying 33 against Piqua. Morrow said Nuss is the smartest player she’s ever met.
“What Carrie has done is phenomenal,” Morrow said. “She came here as a sophomore and she was out the first five or six games. She’s really only gotten about two seasons worth with us, and she has shattered that record in a short amount of time. It’s amazing what she’s done. She’s a phenomenal setter.”
The win came without junior Arielle Snider, who leads the team with kills this season. She was injured in a match at Fairborn on Tuesday, and Morrow said she won’t return anytime soon. Morrow credited freshman Darien McBride for playing well against the Indians in Snider’s absence. McBride hadn’t played a full varsity match before and tallied nine kills and two aces.
Ally Spangler led Sidney with 12 kills, while Alina Kindle had nine. Payton Boshears had 40 digs, while Kindle had 19 and Abby Nuss had 15.
Piqua fought back from a 10-7 deficit to win the first game 25-20. Sidney won the second 25-23 and led 18-16 in the third set, but Piqua scored five of the next six points to spark a 25-19 win. Sidney got off to a quick start and won the fourth game 25-16.
Nuss said the team had to come together after starting slow.
“In the beginning, we were playing a lot as individuals,” Nuss said. “So we just had to work together. We work well together when we do.”
Both Sidney and Piqua wore t-shirts during Wednesday’s match in support of Michelle Garber, a former Piqua player and coach and mother of senior Navie Garber. Michelle Garber has been diagnosed with colon cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.
The two schools sold shirts leading up to the match that allowed free admission. Shirts will be on sale next week leading up to the football game between the two schools on Sept. 29. Proceeds will be donated to the Garber family and to the Upper Valley Cancer Care Center for Colon Research.
The win gives Sidney a 3-2 lead over Piqua in the school’s all-sports trophy competition. The schools next face each other in boys soccer on Tuesday in Piqua.
— Sidney Daily News (@sidneydailynews) September 21, 2017
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.