Frankenmuth Eagles hosted the North Branch Broncos on Wednesday, October 7th as two teams that were undefeated in conference play in the Tri Valley Conference – Eastern Division. Frankenmuth defeated North Branch 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 17-25, 25-18).
The Eagles headed into this match knowing it would be a tough night as the Broncos are a very competitive team. The teams have been at two tournaments together but had not played each other until the conference match up.
After starting the set down a point due to a late submission of the line up, the Eagles did not let that phase them and got the very first point of the game. The Broncos showed up to fight and ended up with an early 5-2 lead over the Eagles. The Eagles slowly chipped away at the Bronco’s early lead and pulled away while Raquel Roy and Keri Frahm served for the Eagles, eventually taking a 21-17 lead. The support of the student section and all of the Eagles fans were an integral part of the energy that filled the gym and helped push the momentum in the favor of the Eagles for a majority of the night.
Heading into the second set, the Eagles were able to get an early lead, at the end of 6 rotations the Eagles had a 5 point lead, 10-5 over the Broncos. The Eagles knew bettter than to think the North Branch team would let up and they came back quickly to take a 12-10 lead over the Eagles. The Eagles did not get defeated and continued to fight overcoming the 2 point deficit to come back 15-12. From that point, the Eagles worked as a strong team to maintain the lead and close out the second set 25-17.
Heading into the third set, the excitement intensified as the Eagles realized they were one set away from winning the match. Things didn’t work out as the Eagles had planned on and within two rotations North Branch pulled away to a 8-4 lead. The Eagles did not give up and battled the remainder of the set, but couldn’t seal the deal in three straight sets, the Eagles fell to the Broncos in set three 17-25. During the battle and during the loss the leadership on the team was phenomenal. The team captains, Keri Frahm and Lindsey Mertz made sure no players got down on themselves or each other. The level of trust and confidence in each other showed through every play regardless of outcome. The girls didn’t give up on the set and were not going to back down. They knew they needed to take a breath, believe in each other and battle throughout the entire set to keep the game alive and to keep North Branch from stealing the momentum.
Going into the fourth set the lady Eagles were mentally tough and did not let the loss of the third set get in their heads. They knew they were still only one set from winning the match and they needed to get the energy and momentum back right away. While the score was close for the first half of the set, Raquel Roy took the team on a roll and led the Eagles on the path they needed to start pulling away with the set. The lead widened as Lindsey Mertz went back to serve all the way to 23-16. The Broncos were not letting down but the Eagles dug deep and finished out strong as a team to win the fourth and final set 25-18.
Throughout the night the girls played very well. Lindsey Mertz mixed up her sets to her hitters utilizing Madison Wiskur on the right side, Jackie Weess, Mikayla Philp and Alexa Merkiel on the left and Keri Frahm and Brayene Benner in the middle – moving them around the net to throw off the North Branch Defense. The back court was held down very well by Raquel Roy and Hannah Karwat who both did an outstanding job playing defense along with the rest of the team. There was never a scowl against each other – only trust, support and encouragement which helped push the ladies to victory.
Jackie Weess led the offense for the Eagles with 17 kills, Lindsey Mertz put up 40 assists, Hannah Karwat defended 19 digs followed closely by Raquel Roy, Lindsey Mertz and Jackie Weess each with 14 digs. Lindsey Mertz shut down 4 attacks by the Broncos with her blocks as did Brayene Benner and Keri Frahm with 3 blocks. Raquel Roy and Madison Wiskur both had 2 aces on the Broncos.
Individual Stats for 10/7/15 vs. North Branch Broncos
Alexa Merkiel – 2 kills
Brayene Benner – 8 kills, 3 blocks, 2 digs
Hannah Karwat – 1 kill, 1 assist, 19 digs
Jackie Weess – 1 ace, 17 kills, 14 digs
Keri Frahm – 6 kills, 3 blocks, 4 digs
Lindsey Mertz – 1 kill, 4 blocks, 40 assists, 14 digs
Madison Wiskur – 2 aces, 4 kills, 9 digs
Mikayla Philp – 2 kills, 1 dig
Raquel Roy – 2 aces, 14 digs