Sometimes spooky unexpected  things happen on Halloween night. That may have been the case when No. 3 Sutter played host to No. 6 Willows in the second round of the NSCIF Division IV playoffs. The Honkers showed off their strong will to win behind a dominant performance by Meghan Weinrich as Willows took down the Huskies in four sets: 22-25, 25-23, 26-24 and 25-22. 

“We played so great as a unit tonight, everyone did their job and fought through some adversity,” Willows head coach Carol Martin said. “Meghan (Weinrich) played phenomenally, and everyone else was able to hang in there and pass to her when needed, I couldn’t be happier,” she added. 

Weinrich led all players on the floor with 25 kills and six blocks. 

“She gave us a lot of problems tonight, she’s a very strong player and you have to give it to her for that great performance,” Sutter head coach Ann Reynolds said. 

In the first set, the Huskies looked like they had all season long. Key passes and perfect placements on both hits and tips. 

Sutter’s Amber Alexander was able to make a hard spike at the net to give her team a 12-9 lead before sealing the set on a keenly placed ball for her squad, 25-22. 

“She’s been one of our go-to’s all season, she’s really progressed as a player. I’m very proud of her will to play,” coach Reynolds said. 

Down 1-0 after the first set, Willows set itself up for another hardship after a lineup snafu to start the second set. 

“I messed up the lineup and it really threw the girls off at first because they were all in the wrong spot. Luckily they were able to rally around it so we could get things back to normal later on,” coach Martin said. 

The Honkers battled hard in the second set. Weinrich started to give Sutter issues with some tough spikes around the net and after both teams were tied 20 aside, the Huskies fell, 25-23. 

If the second set didn’t give the audience at Sutter’s gym enough entertainment, the third set would definitely do the job. 

After jumping out to an 8-3 lead, Sutter called a timeout and made a rally to tie things up at 13-13, much due to the play of Maddie Kunkle and Sarah Lutz. 

“She (Lutz) is not fun to face. About 95 percent of the time she’s going to hit the ball so cleanly that you just can’t do anything about it,” coach Martin said. 

Sutter would keep the margin very close through the end of the set, but in win-by-two fashion, Willows took a 2-1 match lead – winning the third set, 26-24. 

In the fourth set, Willows went back to its reliable hitter yet again as Weinrich started to heat up. Tied at 6-6, Willows took the lead and didn’t look back, never letting off the gas pedal en route to a 25-22 set win and 3-1 match victory. 

“I’m really proud of this group, they never quit on each other and it says a lot about them,” coach Martin said. 

Despite the loss, the Huskies were led by Lutz with 21 kills and Kunkle with 14 assists. On defense, Sutter was led by Alexander with 18 digs Kayla Nichols with 25 digs. 

The Huskies finished the season with an overall record of 27-9. No. 6 Willows will face the winner of No. 2 West Valley/No. 7 Corning in the third round on Nov. 5.

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