Bearcats Come Back Multiple Times to Sweep Warriors


ROCHESTER — The W.F. West volleyball team found itself needing or in the process of a comeback more often than not at Rochester on Tuesday, but the Bearcats managed to do so every time in a 25-20, 25-14, 27-25 sweep of the Warriors in 2A EvCo play.

“We came out with the mentality of, ‘Let’s go have fun,’ but the fun was not happening in that third set,” W.F. West coach Robert Lucas. “But they don’t give up. One of our talking points pregame was being able to trust each other, work with each other, communicate, and it was put to the test there in that third set. I can’t say that there was any one thing that pushed us there, other than that they decided to really start trusting each other and working together.”

Up two sets to none after looking like it had shaken the kinks out in a good second set, W.F. West’s serve-receive and passing game disappeared, plunging the Bearcats into a double-digit hole almost immediately. Facing a 21-12 deficit and the prospect of a fourth set, the visitors got the ball back to Mari Ceesay, needing a run and fast.

“I just told her that we believed in her,” Lucas said. “We had a really good practice yesterday in serving, and this is just another practice. She just had to look at it is playing service vs. passers. She does well in that game, and this was kind of the result of that.”

Three straight aces gave the Bearcats a spark, and they closed the gap to 21-19 before the Warriors could get Ceesay off the line. Getting the ball right back, libero Courtney Jones picked up where Ceesay left off, serving four straight points to get W.F. West to match point.

It was a rough end to a close-but-not-quite-there night for Rochester; the Warriors also led the majority of the first set before surrendering a run that put them on the back foot.

“Defensively we were okay, we just were back on our heels too much, and we’ve got to be on the attack,” Rochester coach Bridget Morris said. “We didn’t attack very well, we didn’t come after them like we should have.”

Roisin Stull led the Warriors with six kills, while Delany Winter had three.

For the Bearcats, Morgan Rogerson paced the way with 11 kills. The senior sparked W.F. West’s first-set comeback with three kills in a 10-1 run that flipped a 16-13 deficit into a 22-17 lead, and then had two more early in the second to lead the visitors to their only strong start of the night. 

“When she’s on, it starts everything,” Lucas said. “Tonight she had confidence in herself, and we always have confidence that she’s going to put up a good, solid hit. She helps bring that energy when she’s on.”

Savannah Hawkins dished out 17 assists and also logged three kills and three aces. Middle blocker Julia Dalan picked her spots all night long, racking up seven kills on .600 hitting, and Chloe Chloupek had eight kills from the right side.

Both W.F. West and Rochester will be on the road Wednesday, the Bearcats going to Shelton and the Warriors playing at Black Hills.