—by Todd Thorson

After a couple of rather disappointing performances to close out the East Marshall tournament the weekend before, the Norsemen girls got their "mo-jo" back for two conference tilts at home last Tuesday (Sept. 17) and Thursday (Sept. 19). Greene County was a pesky bunch, but the Norse prevailed in four sets, 3-1. In one of the most exciting matches in Roland-Story volleyball history, the R-S girls went five sets before finally slipping past a good North Polk outfit 3-2. The two victories pushed the Norsemen’s record to 10-3 overall this season.

Lauren Himan had a career week, posting 20 kills against Greene, and then topping that with 23 against the Comets. Each night happened to be a career high for Lauren. "She is just on fire right now!" said an impressed Coach Molly Geise. "She has was a (big) key to our victories this (past) week."

Greene County proved to be a tough out, as the scrappy girls from the west made the Norse work for every point they posted. Long rallies and competitive sets were the story of this match. "They made us work hard to find a hole," stated Geise. "They had a pretty good block and a feisty defense. Although the scores didn’t look like the match was all that close, we (still) had to earn those points." Coach Geise was also very pleased with how her team stayed focused and determined to eventually get the victory. Set scores were 25-14, 25-16, 18-25 and 25-14 in favor of the Norsemen.

In the four games, Lauren Himan was an amazing 47 for 50 in attacks, with 20 kills. She was also perfect from behind the serving line at 11 for 11. Kelsey Polaski was perfect in the attack zone, going 19 for 19 with four kills. Schyler Polaski went 15 for 18 at the net with five kills. Alexa Whipple went 13 for 16 at the net with four kills. And Anna Himan was 11 for 14 with six kills. All totaled, the Norse slammed down 42 kills on the night, as they continue to rotate a strong five-girl front line combination at the net.

Libby Faga had 20 assists, while Jennifer Demiter posted 20 digs. Lauren, Schyler and Molly Fink posted 16, 13 and 10 digs, respectively.

If you weren’t sure you were a volleyball fan, or still didn’t quite under stand what’s behind this net sport, you should have been convinced after experiencing the Roland-Story/North Polk match last Thursday night in Story City. Everyone in attendance undoubtedly became believers of this exciting, fast paced sport, and the energy level and excitement reached a fever pitch by the time this match was all said and done.

"WOW!" was Coach Molly Geise’s exclamation following a five-set marathon, won by the Norsemen. "It’s amazing how two points at the end of the night could determine the winner and the loser," she said. A total of 205 points were scored in the five games, as the Norse prevailed 24-26, 25-13, 25-17, 20-25 and 16-14.

After losing game one, the R-S girls didn’t lose their focus, nor did they show any signs of nervousness, as the two teams went to game two. Neither team let up, with both the Norsemen and Comets continuing to play well. "We knew we had so much more to give," explained Geise. "That was reflected in games two and three (which we won)."

But North Polk came back to take game four, winning 25-20, sending the match to a fifth set tie-breaker. Falling behind 3-0, the Norse came back to take a 6-4 lead. From that point on, the game went back and forth, with neither team able to lead by more than two points. The fifth set was tied a total of nine times before the R-S girls finally prevailed 16-14. A fine serve by Molly Fink put the Norse up 15-14, and then Erin Nuetzman slammed down an impressive kill to win it for the Norsemen.

"It was a great (final) game to end up on the winning side," said a pleased Coach Geise. Lauren Himan went 46 for 52, as she blistered the net for 23 kills. Sister Anna Himan was 27 for 39 at the net with 12 kills. Schyler Polaski went 24 for 33 in attacks, with eight kills. Kelsey Polaski posted a 13 for 14 performance at the net with two kills. And Alexa Whipple was 12 for 13 with six kills. Libby Faga had 25 assists, with Molly Fink dishing off 15. Jennifer Demiter dug out 32 Comet returns, while Lauren Himan had 16 digs.