By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — Any disappointment left over from Tuesday’s opening loss at McCutcheon that Logansport’s volleyball team might have had surely didn’t show through on Thursday night.
The Berries trounced visiting Northwestern 25-9, 25-8, 25-16 to open play this season in the Berry Bowl.
There was really never any doubt in this one.
Syd Bullard had nine kills and eight digs to lead the Berries (1-1). Nakeya Penny floored seven kills.
Bailey Kelley dished 17 assists and Hannah Jones added six. Lindsey Cheney had a team-high 10 digs and Kailey Vernon posted six. Katie Easter served three aces. Monika Ness, Paulie Frye and Bullard each added a block.
“We had a real good practice yesterday. We had a long talk about how we let things slip away on Tuesday night against McCutcheon,” Logan coach Jon Vernon said. “We didn’t finish things out like we should have. We had a real hard practice yesterday and I think they knew that we didn’t leave the floor against McCutcheon like we should have. But they came out and responded today and I’m pleased with their effort tonight.”
The Berries closed out game one with an 18-3 run, game two with a 17-3 run and game three with a more modest 18-7 run.
The Tigers didn’t have any answer for the Berries’ firepower.
“They are young and Trina [Yager] is a coach at our Logan club program that we have here. She coaches with us,” Jon Vernon said. “They are young this year. But we wanted our kids to focus on us. We had to have better passes and better sets and better kills tonight and play better defense. I thought we played a lot better, I thought we did the things we needed to do. We’re going to work on us to make us the best team. I think the kids responded to that and came out and played hard. We’ve just got to keep getting better.”
The Berries lost in three games at McCutcheon on Tuesday to open the season.
“I don’t know if it was first-night jitters,” Jon Vernon said. “I think it was more along the lines that we had played them four times over the summer and we had beaten them four times this summer. I think we may have overlooked them a little bit and I think I might have overlooked them a little bit. I told the kids that it’s my fault, I didn’t have them ready enough to play on Tuesday night.
“And we had that missed sub the first game that kind of screwed us up. But we had opportunities to win games two and three but we just didn’t finish out. We’ll be there in October and we’ll be ready to go and the kids will be ready.”
The Logan coach added his squad played enough volleyball together this summer that there’s really no excuse to have a sloppy performance in the season opener, which is common in high school volleyball.
“We really shouldn’t be. That’s one of my main concerns when we were at McCutcheon was that we were really sloppy, nothing was easy for us all night long. It was a struggle all night long,” he said. “I don’t know if it was just a case where the kids were overconfident and McCutcheon did a good job. They put us out of system all night long. They did to us what we did to them last year.
“They beat us the first game but we should have won game two and game three and had a chance to win the match. But give them credit, they played better than us.”
The two future North Central Conference opponents could meet again in late October in sectional play, this time in Logansport.
The Berries next host North Miami on Tuesday.
Beau Wicker is the sports editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.