Girls volleyball: Miller steps up to fill void for Earlville

Red Raiders capture hard-fought 3-set win

SANDWICH – The Earlville girls volleyball team has been hindered as of late because of an unfortunate injury to star player Nevaeh Sansone.

But sophomore Bailey Miller has stepped into the void and provided excellent performances.

One of those shining examples came on Wednesday evening as Miller pounded down a team best 10 kills, served up nine points and an ace as the Red Raiders captured a hard-fought 25-16, 21-25, 25-16 nonconference win at Sandwich for their 20th victory of the season.

“I think I played pretty well tonight, had some good serves and some nice kills and we picked it up after a tough second set,” Miller said. “With Nevaeh being out, we’ve all really had to step in to keep our season on track and to get 20 wins tonight was special.”

Miller saw some fine help from senior Hannah Pfaff who had nine kills, while senior Mady Olson chipped in with six kills, 12 digs, seven points and three aces.

Senior Emily Harness popped up 12 digs, and classmate setter Brooklyn Guelde deftly placed a match-high 21 assists as the Raiders fought through a difficult second set to record an impressive win No. 20 against only six losses so far this year.

“Sandwich played some crazy good defense in that second set where we were kind of flat and then got back into rhythm in the third set to close out the match,” Earlville coach Tonya Scherer said. “Bailey [Miller] has been a big part of our attack from the right side, and she was again tonight. The girls have been working very hard this season and to get 20 wins is always a great accomplishment.”

Sandwich (5-23) fought hard behind the strong play of junior Jordan Bauer (10 kills), junior Londyn Scott (eight kills, 2 blocks), junior libero Brooklyn Marks (15 digs), freshman setter Jessica Ramey (15 assists, three aces), and senior Lexie Randa (five points, two aces).

But the Indians couldn’t sustain the momentum they had seized in the second set in order to win the match.

“The second set really showed the team we can be and should be where everything was working well,” Sandwich coach Amy Rogowski said. “Unfortunately, we let them get off to a big lead in the third set and couldn’t recover from there. But I’m really proud of our effort tonight against a tough team.”

In Set 1, Earlville raced out to a 14-8 lead after a back-row kill from Miller. She’d add two more right-side winners off some fine sets from Guelde as the Raiders eased away for a nine point victory in the opening stanza.

“I felt pretty confident in my hitting tonight and in the first set things went pretty well for me,” Miller said.

But Sandwich countered in the second set and held the lead most of the time as Scott was a force in the middle registering four kills as the Indians inched ahead.

“We had a lot of momentum going into the third set after a very strong effort,” Rogowski said. “But we were in a deep hole after that and couldn’t get back.”

Earlville climbed to a 17-10 lead after a kill from Miller and then 21-10 when Olson produced four consecutive service points including two aces before the Raiders eventually closed out the match in style with Miller adding her last kill of the contest down the stretch that insured the visitors victory.

“This was fun for all of us tonight to get another big win,” Miller said. “Now we’ve got to keep it going the rest of the season.”