Volleyball Rides First Set Comeback To Fourth Win In Five Matches

Things were looking bleak for the Whaler volleyball team Monday night during the first set against the Sturgis East Storm. The Storm jumped out to an 18-9 lead over Nantucket thanks to several services errors and miscommunication on the Whalers side of the court.

But the Whalers rallied to win 16 of the final 17 points of the set, including 13 straight with outside hitter Kacey Riseborough at the service line. The Whalers won the set 25-19 and rode that momentum to a 3-0 win over the Storm.

“I was kind of feeling a little torn with how we were playing in that first set but I was so happy to see them pull it out in the end,” head coach Andrew Viselli said. “”They showed a lot of growth from the beginning of that set to the end. When you get strong service it sparks things but I look at Yvie Scarlett and how she played. She was playing strong defense, continuing to move around, getting the ball up in the air. That intensity gets everyone else doing the same thing. Having players like that is what separates good volleyball teams from great volleyball teams.”

Riseborough’s strong performance at the service line (12 aces) is what Viselli has been waiting to see out of his team all season. Generating points off of service was one of Nantucket’s greatest strengths last year, along with handling adversity and early deficits by staging late-match comebacks. Viselli hopes this is a sign of things to come after seeing both of those strengths return on the court against a Storm team that was 4-0 entering Monday’s match.

“Service has been a hallmark of our game since we started this program,” Viselli said. “That composure and that ability in the moment when you are struggling to be able to say we aren’t going to lose and then be able to dig down deep and find that will to pull it out, it shows that confidence is starting to pop. Those light bulbs are starting to go off and everything is starting to come together.”

The Whalers made quick work of the Storm in the second set, winning it 25-9. The Storm bounced back in the third set to match the Whalers play and took a 19-17 lead over Nantucket.

But the Whalers brushed it off and won eight of the final nine points to win set three 25-20 and ensure a straight set victory.

Setter Bianca Santos had a season-high 24 assists and once again demonstrated her ability to run a balanced offensive attack with four Whaler players finishing with at least five kills. Outside hitter Chloe Marrero and middle blocker Amelie Roberts each had seven kills. Riseborough finished with six while Kalina Natcheva had five.

Viselli said the evidence of Santos’ ability to run a balanced offense doesn’t just come from the kills (25 total) but the attempts their outside hitters had overall throughout the match (63 total). He said with the talent his team has, it is only a matter of time before more of those attempts turn into kills.

The Whalers will look to improve their record to 5-2 when they host the St. John Paul II Lions tomorrow at 4 pm

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