The Edmond North Huskies were tasked this week with a hosting of multi-year Class 6A State Semifinalists in Edmond Santa Fe and Deer Creek High School. North finished the chores without dropping a set to either team.
On Thursday they’d best the latter of that pair in straight-set, 25-22, 25-16, and 25-15 time behind a game-high 17 kills from senior Kamryn Bacus.
Edmond North head coach Jaclyn Burroughs was glad her team handled their week’s slate of games convincingly.
“I think Deer Creek did a good job hustling and they are a very scrappy team, so I’m happy. I’m glad the girls took care of business,” Burroughs said after the win Thursday.
Bacus’ attacking dominance has been felt ever since she hit the scene. Deer Creek forced her into an early attacking error in the first set Thursday night, and Creek captain Haley Houk even grabbed a block on Bacus’ second attempt. But, Bacus rebounded — then knocking 10 kills into the Siberian Gymnasium’s floor on just 13 more tries.
The spree erased what was originally a 6-2 Deer Creek advantage, and Bacus’ double-digit frame was met with seven more kills combined from North’s Lily DeGrace and Morgan Goerke. The Huskies took the first set, the closest of Thursday’s three frames, 25-22.
The second was different, but not at the start. Creek ran off to a 5-1 advantage, and the Antlers’ Emily Mardis tallied back-to-back blocks on the North offensive front. Creek’s Haylee Harris layed flat to save a rally, and, eventually, force a North error, but the Huskies had already answered. DeGrace earlier had earned serve on a kill at 11-8, and she immediately followed that with a serving ace of her own.
DeGrace — alongside Morgan Goerke and Elaina Murray — dominated that crucial, second set. She and Goerke both were responsible for three kills each, and Murray subbed in to play front line with DeGrace midway through the set. Together, the pair would spout a spree of two blocked attempts in just three tries.
The trio’s standout set saw North take a frame without Bacus scoring a single kill. She’d have two aces and a block — but no attacking, offensive kill. In the past, Bacus going an entire set without a kill — which, historically, might not have ever even occurred — was a death sentence. On Thursday, it was a nine-point win.
Burroughs said that’s because this year’s Huskies have made a conscious effort at being offensively diverse.
“Morgan had a great game; Lily had a great game,” Burroughs said. “We are trying to spread out our offense and have more weapons. A lot of teams know that (Bacus) is one of our go-to hitters, so they put their blockers on her.”
Burroughs said that when DeGrace and Goerke are getting theirs at the front of the net, that forces other defenses into respecting them — ultimately giving Bacus more 1-on-1 opportunities. And, when Goerke and DeGrace are attacking successfully, it gives Bacus a chance to recharge.
“I know that she gets a lot of reps, especially playing six rotations,” Burroughs said. “She can definitely get fatigued so it helps having more options on the front row.”
She’d use the “breather,” too, bouncing into the third to lead the game with seven more kills — tallying her game-best 17 on the night. Goerke had three more in the third and the Huskies took the match-clinching set, 25-15.
Haley Houk led Deer Creek with 10 unofficial kills Thursday night. She posted two in the first, four in the second, and — playing in a third-set offense that eerily simulated the 2017 Deer Creek offense where co-captain Teagan Polcovich looked to set up Grayson Schimmels — she’d hammer four more into the court.
Polcovich finished with nine overall after leading the team with four kills in the first set.
Next for Edmond North is their fourth home game in five matches. On Tuesday they'll host Westmoore before playing in next weekend's Heather Harkness Invitational.
Deer Creek will be in the Harkness, too, but after they travel to face Mustang on Tuesday of next week.