Both Wapahani and Yorktown stepped on the court Tuesday night ranked in their respective classes and with perfect records on the line.
The Tigers beat some notable programs in Bellmont, Bishop Chatard, Center Grove, Central and Roncalli in winning their first nine matches.
The Raiders won their opening eight, but their only win against a ranked opponent came at the expense of Class A Daleville.
That relative inexperience against a top-flight opponent provided Wapahani coach Jared Richardson a perfectly acceptable excuse for why his team lost on the road to Yorktown 25-19, 25-13, 17-25, 25-18.
Yet, Richardson dismissed that notion. He cited the fact the 4A No. 7 Tigers served better and passed better out of serve-receive than his 3A No. 8 Raiders.
“Tonight was just serve-receive vs. serve-receive, and they were unstoppable,” Richardson said. “I could not get them out of system, and we couldn’t stay in system.”
The Raiders (8-1) managed initial contact on serve-receive as the Tigers served only two aces, but too few of those passes found their target as setter Megan Hicks sprinted all over in pursuit and set the ball too far off the net for her hitters to terminate effectively.
Yorktown (9-0) inevitably dug those balls up and setter Taylor Zwickl spread the wealth for her hitters to terminate against a discombobulated Wapahani defense.
“They had like a rotation defense going so we wanted to mix up the hits, so I would go outside, middle, right side and switch it up, and they would never know what we were going to do,” Zwickl said.
The Tigers feasted on the right side against the left-side Raider block. Senior right-side Nicole Phillips finished with a match-high 15 kills. Yorktown slid its middles, Rachel Hines and Carson Malapit, to the right for kills, too. Hines followed Phillips with 12 kills and Malapit had nine.
Wapahani managed to slow the Yorktown attack briefly in the third. Katie Foster and Addie Reynolds supplied service pressure, and with the Raiders in system, Lindi Thomas terminated effectively. Yorktown held Thomas in relative check otherwise as she finished with 13 kills.
Yorktown coach Stephanie Bloom switched liberos from Jade York to fellow sophomore Brooke Hildreth and said a few motivational words to her players between the third and fourth sets.
“That’s one of the things I said to them,” Bloom said. “It’s a simple game. And if you can’t put balls to target, and even defensively, we weren’t rallying back defensively in game three.”
Those words sank in as the Tigers passed on target and stayed in system in the fourth set.
Bloom sounded upbeat afterward with how her team performed in chalking up its fourth win against a ranked opponent.
Richardson took some positives out of the match, too. He said, in his opinion, Wapahani outplayed Yorktown when both teams operated in system. But with the Tigers better in serve-receive that scenario occurred too infrequently for his Raiders.
“They deserve all of the credit tonight, because I couldn’t find a passer that I could beat with a server.”