“We’ve been working on our serves, calling them in places a little more,” Yager said. “The girls have been doing a good job with that, because a couple of times where we struggled in stretches [this season] it’s be due in part to our serving. I was very pleased with the way they served [Tuesday] night.”
The Tigers matched their 12-3 run from the second set out of the gates in the the third. Ballard’s 16th kill of the night put Northwestern at match point before a Western attack error ended it.
Having defeated Western convincingly in the first two times the two teams faced, Yager was pleased with the way her squad avoided complacency in a third matchup where the season hung in the balance.
“The girls knew what to expect from them because we’ve seen them twice before,” she said. “I told them to be ready for anything because it’s sectional time and teams step it up. We knew we were going to have to come out here, play tough and play to win, and the girls did a good job of that.”
Alexis Brown added five kills to the victory effort, while Whitney Zeck added four kills. Sydney Zeck dished out 27 assists. Harshman added 12 digs, while Richards finished with 10 and Ballard added seven.
Bretta Tate led Western with five kills. Freshman Emily Jones finished with 11 assists for the Panthers.
The Panthers finish the season 6-22, and with no seniors, likely will return everyone to next year’s squad.
“We’ll pick it back up in January and make sure we’re conditioning the way we should be and getting around all the hurdles we faced this year,” Rodman said. “Being senior-less is a huge [positive] looking toward the future, so we’re going to build from there.”