The result of Tuesday’s volleyball match between Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton and Nicollet may not have been what the Bulldogs were hoping for as the Raiders completed a 3-0 match sweep, but honoring junior Mandy Gruis after she recorded her 1,000th career set assist was a nice silver lining on the night.
Gruis became just the fourth Bulldog to achieve the milestone and the emotion was something that she said she couldn’t really explain.
“Honestly, having it happen and everyone kind of looking at me was really overwhelming,” she said as a couple young fans raced up to give her a hug. “It almost felt like I had won ‘America’s Got Talent’ or something. All I could think about was focusing on my team and enjoying the moment with them.”
And enjoy the moment they did. Right in the middle of the set, the crowd erupted and the bench cleared as Gruis’ teammates rushed the floor to embrace their setter.
“We may not have the best record, but we all work hard for each other,” she said. “We don’t give up. The attitude in the locker room has never gone bad. I just want to thank everyone who’s helped me along the way.”
Nicollet 3, JWP 0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-15)
The first set of the night was a nice back-and-forth affair for the most part. Neither team could pull away as points alternated up until the Raiders made a run after the score was tied up at 17-17. Eight of the next 10 points went to the Raiders as the battle of the two three-win teams moved to the next set after the 25-19 Nicollet victory.
The second set was even more lopsided in favor of the Raiders, though the scoreboard showed differently when the Bulldogs made a late push after Nicollet went up 23-19 before a JWP timeout stole some momentum.
The Bulldogs were able to grab a few points, but the Raiders got a side out and on the ensuing serve finished the set 25-22.
The final set was all Nicollet. The Raiders were up 17-9 at one point and it ended up being a rout as the visitors rolled their way to a 25-15 final set victory to take the match 3-0.
Mandy Gruis: 11 assists
Kortney Southwick: 8 kills
Lacey Cords: 23 digs
Andra Armstrong: 14 digs
The Bulldogs (3-15) have two games remaining in the regular season beginning with a home match against the Medford Tigers set for 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15. The regular season finale will be on the road against the Alden-Conger Knights at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15.