RICHLAND - "Are you ready to go home in three games or do you want to stay around and play for awhile," Sunnyside Christian High School volleyball coach Tammy Bangs asked her team last night.
Already down 2-0 to Liberty Christian of Richland, the Lady Knights answered in the affirmative to rally for a 3-2 non-league win in the season opener.
"We were just off to a slow start, our serving was what really hurt us," Bangs said of the slow start, which saw SCHS drop the first two games, 25-20 and 25-18.
Conversely, Bangs said, it was the service game that brought the Lady Knights back from the brink of defeat. "Our serving became much more consistent, that's what really kept us in the match."
She also praised the front line, led by Emma Newhouse's eight kills, that helped turn the tide in SCHS's favor.
The turnaround began with a 25-15 game three victory and SCHS knotted up the contest at 2-2 with a 25-19 win in game four.
"I told them no matter what, our serving had to be on," Bangs recalled. "I told them they were very capable of winning the match."
The Lady Knights did just that in the fifth, and decisive, game by turning to, what else, their serving game.
Joleen Van Wingerden served for 10 points in a row in the finale to pace SCHS to a 15-2 romp in the fifth and clinch the win.
For the match, Van Wingerden had 18 service points and her sister, Tori, had 14 service points.
Tori Van Wingerden also led SCHS with eight assists.
Even though SCHS opened the season at 1-0 with the come-from-behind victory, Bangs said her team is still a work in progress.
"There are little things we need to work on with our defense," she said.
SCHS will next have an opportunity to show improvement when they host Bickleton this Friday at 6 p.m.
One thing is for sure, the Lady Knights will be ready to stay and play.
"It was just exciting for us," Bangs said of the rally. "It was a real nice esteem builder."