The Bluejay volleyball team came back from a substantial lay-off with a tight opening loss to Eau Claire North in the MHS Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.
The girls could have gotten rattled. Instead, they got even and ran with it.
Merrill answered a 25-23 loss with 25-15 and 25-19 wins, then closed it out in four sets with a come-from-behind 25-22 triumph.
The Jays trailed 20-16 in the final set before rallying into a 22-21 lead with a Morgan Wardall tip and smash. A Rylee Folz hammer was blocked out of bounds to bring up set point, and after a North time-out, an ace ended the match.
The Jays led just 17-16 in the third set before an 8-2 run to the finish. The Huskies made a few errors and Folz offered back-to-back blocks and a big spike for a 24-18 lead. Maddix Bonnell closed out a long final point – that featured several great North digs – with a solid spike.
The Jays responded to the opening loss with a big early run in the second set. They grabbed leads of 7-2, 13-4 and 18-7. Anna Finnell got them to 21-9 with two smashes, and Emily Page threw a surprise tip in there for a 22-10 margin. Wardall crushed consecutive quick sets for a 24-14 lead and North hit a low serve to end it.
The teams were tied at 17-17 in the first set, and while the Merrill girls never fell behind by more than 2 points the rest of the way, they could never get over the top. Set point came after North made several saves of potential 24-24 tying spikes, then dropped a spike of its own just inside the back line.
ECN- 25 15 19 22
MER- 22 25 25 25
Leaders- Wardall (20k, 2 bl); Folz (16k, 4bl); Page (46a, 2 bl); Finnell (11k); Bonnell (3k, 3ac); Katie Zelinski (5k).