WICHITA, Kan.—When it’s in rhythm, Wichita Northwest is a tough team to beat. With a front line featuring some of the city’s top players in Shayla Cotman and Darby Mussulman, few teams have answers for 6A’s No. 5 team.
Kapaun Mt. Carmel was a team that found an answer. Resoundingly so, it found an answer. The Lady Crusaders beat Northwest 25-23, 25-15.
Kapaun started the match slowly Tuesday night. It won the first point, but the Lady Crusaders found themselves down 9-5 early in the match. The Lady Grizzlies won five straight points and looked to cruise in the first set against the undefeated Lady Crusaders.
When Northwest led 9-5, though, Kapaun found a rhythm. It rattled off five straight points of its own to take a 10-9 lead. Then points became difficult to come by.
Back and forth, no team could find solid footing, a consistent way to score points. In fact, the biggest run of the first set aside from the two five-point streaks came when Kapaun led 20-18 and Northwest scored three points in a row to tie the match at 20. The Lady Crusaders won five of the next eight points to take the set 25-23.
“We worked together as a team to keep them moving,” said Kapaun head coach Terri Hessman. “(Northwest) has some great hitters and blockers, so we just had to keep them moving and out of their system. The girls did a great job with it tonight.”
The wheels fell off Northwest in the second set. Kapaun grabbed an early 4-2 lead and the Lady Grizzlies looked out of sorts, but was able to tie it at four off two straight points. It would be the last time for a while Northwest would score back-to-back points.
Ball after ball fell for Kapaun as it built a 12-6 lead, then 18-8, until it was finally ahead 24-11 and looking to put the final nail in the coffin.
Northwest simply could not get anything going against a tough Kapaun team that came in with a plan and executed to near perfection.
The Lady Grizzlies weren’t done, though. With Kapaun ahead 24-11, Northwest began to rally. With the serve on its side of the court, Northwest rattled off four straight points to make it 24-15, just the second time in the set the team scored at least two points in a row.
The game was looking up for Northwest, but a mishit into the net by Mussulman finished the match for Kapaun.
“We’ve been saying this year that we want to make our teammates look better,” said Hessman. “Our front line looks great because we are getting our passes and sets there and our front line is putting them away.”