BONNE TERRE – Emily Veach employed all facets of her game to help the North County volleyball team gain an advantage with the first set drawing toward its conclusion on Wednesday.
The starting junior recorded a tying kill with power along the right side, and used deception as the setter to earn another pivotal point after unleashing a jump serve for an ace.
The Lady Raiders stayed in front throughout game two while surging near the middle stages, and fended off a late push to defeat visiting St. Vincent 25-19, 25-20.
Senior outside hitter Lauren Forrester registered a team-high six kills while Whitney Marler and Emma Gaugel sent down five apiece for North County (2-1).
Several minutes of action were required for either side to establish an offensive rhythm, as struggles with serve receiving resulted in free balls or early passing errors.
The Lady Raiders ended the opening stanza with a 16-5 edge in kills, but handed away numerous points when St. Vincent (0-2) managed to extend rallies.
Marissa Cooper notched six kills and libero Natalie Ernst made eight digs for the Indians, who led 15-13 following a North County attack that carried wide.
Mallory Clifton terminated a frenetic previous point that opposing players Kayleigh Winch and Macy Kamler scrambled to brilliantly clear from beyond the back line.
A double block by Gaugel and Forrester shifted momentum back to the home team at 17-16, and Veach pounced on an ensuing and accurate back-set from Ariel Stewart.
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Winch sparked a modest but important 4-0 spurt, and Marler ripped the next chance down the line as Veach neatly avoided contact with the net. The Lady Raiders built a 21-17 cushion.
Veach caught the Indians out of position with an alert dink to an open spot at 23-19, and Marler tacked on the next two service points with an ace.
Seven different attackers delivered at least one kill in game two for North County, which led 11-5 after Gaugel spiked to the floor and combined with Sarah Wells on a stuff-block.
Winch collected four kills, including a bullet down the inviting right sideline as the margin reached 19-10. She also equaled libero Maddi Oder with five digs while embracing a greater role this year on the back row.
St. Vincent fought back as Mary Schwartz served a 5-0 run that Grace Schremp spurred with back-to-back kills. Schremp tallied three blocks and four kills overall from the middle.
North County allowed a free ball that narrowly cleared the net to fall untouched, and saw its cushion deflate to 21-18 before a missed serve and three subsequent errors doomed the Indians.
Forrester earned her most powerful kill on the sixth point of the match, and knocked down a smooth return pass from Veach in game two.
Stewart dished out 11 assists in triumph while Veach had three kills and eight assists.
Hannah Riley served two aces and produced 14 assists for St. Vincent.