BURLINGTON JUNCTION, Mo. — Fans from Union Star and West Nodaway packed the into the gym at Burlington Junction on Tuesday night to witness two programs that have been rebuilding in recent years do battle. The big crowd led to plenty of excitement on the court.
“It gets us pumped up so much,” West Nodaway junior Lexi Moore said. “When the student section is full it is a lot better.”
It was the Rocket fans who secured the bragging rights at the end of the night as West Nodaway secured a straight-sets victory 25-17 and 25-14.
“I haven’t seen the girls this excited in the year and a half that I have been here,” West Nodaway coach Skyler Zimmerman said.
The first set got off to a fast start with senior Brittney McIntyre serving up back-to-back aces to put the Rockets in front 3-1.
A big kill from McIntyre extended the West Nodaway lead to 12-7, but a series of errors allowed Union Star a run of its own and they knotted the match at 13-13 and then at 14-14.
Moore refused to allow her squad to squandered its advantage though. The junior started a 6-1 spurt with a kill and capped it with a block to help the Rockets regain control.
“Her blocking and her killing it at the net really put them on their heels,” Zimmerman said.
With the Rocket lead 21-16, senior Faith Sanders had consecutive aces to give the team some additional breathing room.
Fittingly, McIntyre — who led the team with five kills in the first set — wound up for her biggest spike of the night to seal it and allow the Rocket crowd to celebrate.
Moore and McIntyre combined for nine kills in the first set and senior Maddy Walker was able to keep them both happy with nine assists..
Much like the first set, West Nodaway got off to a quick start in the second set behind the service game of McIntyre. She had four aces and Moore had a pair of kills during a 7-0 run to put the Rockets up 9-1 in the early going.
Again, Union Star wouldn’t surrender and battled back within 12-9 at one point.
West Nodaway seemed to have all the answers though and an ace from Walker followed by a kill from McIntyre extended the lead back to six at 15-9.
“We have each other’s backs in everything we do,” McIntyre said.
The Trojans worked it back down to 16-13 but a three-point run with McIntyre serving stretched the lead back out and senior libero Nataleigh Ecker was able to close the game out with her own strong service game. Ecker led an 6-0 run with a pair of aces to put the finishing touches on the 25-14 victory.
“That is awesome,” Moore said of Ecker. “She did that a couple games before and it is like, ‘Wow.’ When you need her, she is there and she just cleans up for us.”
McIntyre had four aces in the final set and Moore added a pair of kills. Walker had two assists.
Union Star will continue its matches against Nodaway County when they host the North Nodaway Mustangs on Thursday with both schools looking for their first win of the year.
West Nodaway will play host to Rock Port on Thursday night.
“I think we are going to win a lot more games this year,” McIntyre said. “There are teams that we haven’t won against in many years and I think we are ready to battle with them.”