A short memory went a long way Tuesday night.
Once again, Janesville Parker’s volleyball team flashed its resiliency and ability to move on from tough moments.
The Vikings were on the wrong end of a pair of lopsided sets against visiting Madison East in a Big Eight Conference match. But they rebounded quickly both times, including dominating the fifth set to win 25-21, 11-25, 25-23, 14-25, 15-6.
“A mentality that we have, even coming to practice, is that it’s a new set and a different point each time,” Parker junior Rachel VanBeek said. “Whether we win or lose a point, it’s a fresh start and a new opportunity.”
The Vikings (2-3 Big Eight) were coming off a sweep of Madison La Follette last Thursday, but that was a match where they started in a 7-0 hole and were forced to rally.
On Tuesday, Parker needed to bounce back twice from awkward sets.
The Vikings took a 12-11 lead and never trailed again in the first, but they struggled receiving serve and passing in the second, falling behind 11-4 and never recovering.
Parker recovered in the third, leading 18-13 on junior Carlie Curtis’ ace. But the Purgolders (2-3) rallied to forge a 22-22 tie. Parker regained the lead twice on kills by junior Jayda Schober’s that found their way through the East block.
That set up setter Shay Riley’s block at the net for game point and a 2-1 lead.
“We just told each other to keep swinging,” said senior Julianna Getka, who led the way with 19 kills. “They’re going to have a big block, but that can’t intimidate you, because tips don’t get points very often.”
It was all East again in the fourth as the taller Purgolders pounced with a variety of kills and blocks on the way to a 19-11 lead.
The Vikings knew they needed to seize control right away in the fifth set. They kept the ball alive during a volley long enough to finally set up Schober (nine kills) for a shot down the line and a 1-0 lead.
“I said, who wants it more?” VanBeek said. “We said, ‘Us!’ And we pulled it out.”
From there, VanBeek served the Vikings to a commanding 7-0 lead.
She had two critical digs during that stretch, one on the second point and one on the fifth, to go along with an ace that made it 4-0 coming out of a timeout.
And Getka added two kills from the back row during that stretch to give the Vikings a massive advantage.
“It was really important to get momentum right away. We couldn’t let them make those runs that they had when we lost those two games,” Getka said. “And it’s really important to have offense, even if the set is off. Even on a back pass, you can still get a kill.”
East never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Parker coach Andy Kimball lauded the work of his defensive specialists, as Alissa Anderson (20) and Curtis (17) combined for 37 of the team’s 72 digs. Getka added 15, and Riley finished with 36 assists for the Vikings, who host Middleton on Thursday.
“It feels amazing to get this one,” VanBeek said. “The bench’s energy, everybody’s energy, it was just really great to play in that kind of game.”
For a team that prides itself on having a short memory, Tuesday’s match was one to remember.
PARKER 3, EAST 2
Madison East 21 25 23 25 6
Janesville Parker 25 11 23 14 15
Parker stats (aces-kills-assists)—Alissa Anderson 0-1-0, Carlie Curtis 2-0-0, Hannah Brunner 0-0-1, Jayda Schober 0-9-0, Julianna Getka 2-19-0, Kylee Skrzypchak 0-4-0, Rachel VanBeek 2-3-0, Shay Riley 1-1-36, Tina Shelton 0-0-0. Blocks leaders—Skrzypchak 5, Riley 4. Digs leaders—Anderson 20, Curtis 17, Getka 15.