GOLDEN, Colo. – In second day action at the Oredigger Volleyball Classic in Golden, Colo. the King Tornado volleyball team collected its first win of the season and splitting a pair of contests. Their win came against Fort Lewis in their first of two games before falling in the finale to Montana State – Billings.
King (1-3) rebounded from a winless opening day at the Classic by defeating Fort Lewis in five games (17-25, 25-21, 16-25, 29-27, 15-13) in come-from-behind fashion. The Tornado dropped game one to the Skyhawks though kept it even for much of the set. After both teams played to a 15-16 score, Fort Lewis broke away with 6-0 run, leading to a set victory. After splitting the next two sets, King faced elimination three times in the fourth but rebounded for the win after Sarah Van Goethem (Aurora, Colo.) had two kills and Mariah Herington (Jonesborough, Tenn.) put away the game-winner to even the match at two games apiece
In the fifth, Fort Lewis and King battled to a 9-9 tie before the Tornado rattled off a 4-1 run to break away toward a win. The Skyhawks brought it within a point after scoring three straight, but Ashley Pittman (Norris, Tenn.) ended the run putting away Fort Lewis with the final, game-deciding kill.
"To get a win over a strong team like Fort Lewis is great to get out of the way and move forward," said head coach Chris Toomey. "I am very pleased with the team's resolve, to stay mentally strong, and to hang in there and pull out the win."
Van Goethem and Kirsten Hamel (Weaverville, N.C.) led the Tornado with 16 kills in the first game. Van Goethem also tallied her first double-double this season by adding 15 digs to her line. With Hamel's 16 kills, she also had a .414 hit-percentage on 29 attempts. Shannon Earwood (Carson City, Nev.) had 54 assists in the match to accompany 16 digs and two kills. Pittman rounded out the trio of players with 15 or more kills, accompanying Van Goethem and Hamel.
In game two, the Tornado did fair as well dropping the match in straight sets to Montana State – Billings (16-25, 21-25, 20-25). In all three games, King pushed MSU-Billings to a 14-14 tie before the Yellow Jackets broke away for wins in all three games. Pittman tallied 11 kills while Brown recorded double digit digs and Earwood notched 25 assists in the loss.
The Tornado finished the weekend tournament 1-3 with two of their losses against teams that finished the tournament undefeated.
Said Toomey of his squad following the tournament, "This is a team that has a high desire to get better. They have a strong work ethic and that is helping them recognize where they can improve. This team has goals. They want a championship in their first year in Conference Carolinas. At this point of the year, that is great to see the hunger and desire to get better."
King next plays at Winston-Salem State on Sept. 7 with a 6:30 p.m. start scheduled.