Boyd-Buchanan Rallies To Sweep Notre Dame

Meredith Balthrop Among Leaders In 25-22, 26-24, 25-20 Win Over Lady Irish

Monday, September 18, 2017 - by John Hunt

Home court advantage plays a vital role in many sports, but especially in high school volleyball.

The Boyd-Buchanan Buccaneers went to Notre Dame on August 22 for a critical district match and they headed back home after losing a close match by a 3-1 margin against the Lady Irish.

The shoe was on the other foot Monday night as they two teams squared off at Boyd-Buchanan’s Jett Gymnasium.

The home team won again as the Lady Bucs improved to 24-8 overall and 5-2 in Division II-A East play with the 3-0 victory, prevailing by scores of 25-22, 26-24 and 25-20.

“When we play together as a team, we’re pretty hard to beat and that was the case today.  Team chemistry in volleyball wins every time,” said Boyd-Buchanan coach Nancy Culver shortly after the intense contest ended.

“We were behind in every set, but we didn’t panic and just kept battling.  We never lost our composure as our confidence was high, but we were aggressive and just wanted to score one point at a time.  Our goal was to win as many of the small battles as possible so we could win the war, but this was a really big district match and we needed it,” she added.

Notre Dame coach Dan Clotfelter knows that playing on the road is never easy.  Allowing the home team to overcome a huge deficit for a win is even harder.

“That was a weird one, but it was tough letting the big lead get away in the second set.  It was hard to bounce back after that, but district matches on the road are always a battle,” he began.

“Boyd-Buchanan played great defense as they refused to lose.  There were several balls we thought were kills that just kept coming back, but we just have to move forward and learn from it,” he added.

Jordan Furtney had two aces in her first three serves to give the Lady Bucs a 3-0 lead in the opening set before a pair of kills by Jazzmyne Watkins allowed the Lady Irish to lead for the first time at 7-5.

Notre Dame had the upper hand the rest of the way and led 21-17 before the Lady Bucs called a timeout.

A kill from Meredith Balthrop got the Lady Bucs within 22-20 before Maddie Millwood knocked down five straight aces to give Boyd-Buchanan the comeback win and a huge momentum shift.

The Lady Irish came back strong in the second set and got seven straight service points from Alex Peters for a commanding 9-1 lead.  An ace from Maggie Martin extended the lead to 15-5.

Five straight service points from Julia Headrick trimmed the difference to 15-11 and the comeback continued.

Another kill from Watkins gave Notre Dame a 22-18 lead before the Lady Bucs called their second timeout.

A service error by the Lady Irish made it 22-19 while two kills and an ace by Headrick got the Lady Bucs within one at 23-22.

With the set on the line and the score tied at 24, the Lady Bucs prevailed following two errors by the Lady Irish.

The Lady Bucs then took the early lead in the third set by scoring four of the first five points, but Notre Dame rallied and took a 12-10 lead on five straight service points from Peters.

Back-to-back kills from Balthrop knotted the score at 13-13 and although the score was tied five more times, the Lady Irish never regained the lead.

A block from Mackenzie Mann and an ace from Furtney gave the Lady Bucs the lead at 20-18 and they clinched the match just minutes later on consecutive kills from Balthrop, Headrick and Furtney.

Headrick finished the match with 10 kills while Balthrop was all over the court and added 17 digs, nine kills and 15 assists.  Millwood finished with seven aces while Mann was credited with 5.5 blocks.

Watkins had seven kills and five digs to lead Notre Dame while Claire Vander Werf had seven digs, seven aces and four kills.  Johnson finished with eight kills while Ally Mildenberger added nine digs.

The Lady Bucs will be at home again on Tuesday for another big region match with Silverdale while Notre Dame will host GPS on Wednesday.


McKenna Brown – 1 ace, 6 digs

Ally Mildenberger – 9 digs, 1 kill, 2 aces

Claire Vander Werf – 4 kills, 7 digs, 7 aces

Jazzmyne Watkins – 7 kills, 5 digs

Mackenzie Johnson – 8 kills, 2 blocks.


Meredith Balthrop – 17 digs, 9 kills, 15 assists

Julia Headrick – 2 digs, 10 kills, .5 block, 1 ace

Jordan Furtney – 4 digs, 2 kills, 12 assists, 4 aces

Katie Culver – 1 dig, 1 ace

Maddie Millwood – 11 digs, 9 kills, .5 block, 7 aces

Abigail Taylor – 2 digs, .5 block

Gracie Spencer – 4 digs

Mackenzie Mann – 2 kills, 5.5 blocks

Skylar Linville – 1 kill, 3 blocks

Madison Taylor – 13 digs, 6 assists.

(Email John Hunt at

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