FAIRBANKS—A slow-starting West Valley team overcame Lathrop’s aggressiveness to prevail in four sets of a Mid Alaska Conference volleyball game Wednesday night at West Valley High School.
The Wolfpack won *28-26, 16-25, 25-23, 25-19 to improve to 2-0 conference and 4-1 overall.
“They started off very slow, very low energy,” West Valley head coach Dave Cox said by phone. “They were not really talking or moving well defensively. They were really sluggish and they let it (ball) drop in front of them.”
The winless Malemutes challenged the Wolfpack, particularly in the first two sets.
“We forced them to make errors because we were playing with so much aggression, and West Valley wasn’t ready for it,” Lathrop head coach Joe Donoghue said.
West Valley responded by solidifying its net presence and intensifying its defense.
“We started talking and we were more cohesive,” Cox said. “The defense started moving earlier and we had less serving errors.”
Lathrop (0-2, 0-6) was hampered in the fourth set by execution problems.
“We just couldn’t quite compete at the same level,” Donoghue said. “I don’t know what it was, but we couldn’t execute properly for two rotations and we allowed them to get seven points.”
Song Ebbesen led the Wolfpack with 19 assists and served 16 for 19 witht two aces. Christina Bussell’s 15 digs led five West Valley players in double-digit digs.
Tori Howdeshell had 14 digs and served 15 for 15 with a team-high three aces. Emma Benjamin contributed 14 digs, and Samantha Crawford had 13 digs to go with a team-high nine kills among 17 attacks.
Missy Spaulding also served 15 for 15, had an ace and recorded 12 digs. Wolfpack teammate Nora Troppman was 8 for 20 in kills and produced eight blocks with six for points.
Jessica Rice and Lauren Slater also had eight kills apiece and all three of Jessie Martellaro’s blocks went for points.
Abbi Walker paced Lathrop with 16 assists and she served for 12 points. Ruthie Hebard and Mikayla Triplehorn shared the kills lead with eight each, and Hebard also registered five solo blocks.
Christine Angell had six kills to go with seven assists and two block assists. Karli Fitzgerald matched the night-best of 15 digs and she served for nine points.
Lathrop got nine digs from Emily Krier and two block assists each from Dahnina Matautia and Abby Arnold.
The Malemutes visit the Eielson Ravens at 6 tonight in a nonconference game, and the Wolfpack are off until they host three straight nonconference contests. West Valley faces the Monroe Catholic Rams next Wednesday, the Colony Knights next Thursday and the Houston Hawks next Friday.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.