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Volleyball: Silver Creek beats Thompson Valley, secures Northern lead at midpoint

Volkmann has 27 kills in Raptors’ best defensive effort so far

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    LONGMONT, CO - OCT 1, 2019: Silver Creek's Olivia Nelsen sets up a teammate for a kill during a volleyball match against Thompson Valley on Tuesday in Longmont. (Photo by Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek's Megan Sotiroff goes for a kill during a volleyball match against Thompson Valley on Tuesday in Longmont.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek's Haley Lee tries to block a kill during a volleyball match against Thompson Valley on Tuesday in Longmont.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek's Emma Stenner serves the ball during a volleyball match against Thompson Valley on Tuesday in Longmont.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek's Abigail Flynn sets up a teammate during a volleyball match against Thompson Valley on Tuesday in Longmont.

  • Jeremy Papasso/ Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek's Caitlin Volkmann goes for a kill during a volleyball match against Thompson Valley on Tuesday in Longmont.

  • Daily Camera file photo

    Silver Creek's Megan Sotiroff stops a serve during a volleyball match against Thompson Valley on Tuesday in Longmont.

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LONGMONT – This fall season has been a good one for the Silver Creek volleyball team and the Raptors won a pivotal match on Tuesday night to secure the Northern League lead midway through the 2019 campaign.

Notching their fifth straight win, the Raptors (10-2, 7-0) won their fifth straight match with a victory over the Thompson Valley Eagles, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-22. Both teams entered the contest with unblemished conference records and the gravity of the win was not lost on the Raptors players.

Silver Creek has never won a conference championship, the Raptors were looking for early separation, and they secured it in front of their home crowd on Tuesday night.

“Longmont and Niwot are our rivals but I really think this was a bigger game for us,” Raptors junior Emma Stenner said. “It was the undefeated game and it just feels really good to have pulled that one out of our back pocket after a lot of hard work. There are still going to be a lot of battles along the way but we are definitely out to win a league title this season.”

Silver Creek’s win snapped a seven-match win streak for the Eagles (10-6, 6-1). The Raptors have also won 15 of 19 sets played since a 2-1 tournament loss to Erie on Sept. 14.

After dropping the first set, the Raptors rallied to win the next three. In the fourth and final game, Thompson Valley came from behind to tie the score at 21-21. Facing a potential fifth set, however, the Raptors won four of the next five points to close it out.

“This was a big challenge for us because we haven’t played a lot of teams that have hit line down the right side or have hit cross from the outside,” Stenner, the Raptors’ libero, said. “But it was really enjoyable for me because I was getting to dig a lot of balls. We definitely had to adjust to their play a bit because they did have some big hitters who were hitting our weak spots. Overall, I think we did really great tonight.”

Silver Creek senior Caitlin Volkmann, who entered Tuesday’s match with the fourth most kills in Colorado, had 27 kills. Megan Sotiroff had 13 kills and five blocks, including a critical swat in the final points of the match. Kate Prestwich had 10 kills, Stenner had five aces, and Amy Terrion had four blocks.

Silver Creek head coach John Miller said his team’s defense was the deciding factor in Tuesday’s match.

“This is the best we’ve played defensively all season long,” Miller said. “This is the kind of defense that I knew that we had. I’m glad they put it all together tonight. The defense with our offense, I thought it was just a great team effort tonight. Great win. It was a ‘pink-out’ tonight for breast cancer and I’d like to think that had at least a little something to do with it.”

The Raptors will host Northridge on Thursday. Silver Creek and Thompson Valley will play again in the regular-season finale on Oct. 24.