MANHATTAN — By the time the district tournament arrives at the end of the month, Dinah Sime believes her offense will look a lot more polished than it did Thursday.
While Manhattan certainly had its moments in a District 5B sweep of Whitehall, there were times when things were out of sync — particularly in the first and third sets as the team continues to adjust to a new setter.
“It’s hard with a new setter when your passes aren’t dead on. Kind of throwing her all over the place and it’s hard to run those faster tempo sets and get the ball up,” Sime, who is Manhattan’s interim head coach, said. “They adjusted and they did well.”
Led by nine kills from Oliviah Westervelt, the Tigers posted a 25-18, 25-12, 25-21 victory to improve to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in District 5B.
Manhattan’s offense is still a work in progress after head coach Charli Chapman and her daughter Cayli suddenly left the program. Cayli was a two-time All-State setter, which left a huge void in the starting lineup.
Camdyn Holgate, a freshman, has taken over as the starting setter and team’s hitters are still adjusting to her raw talent.
“Camdyn’s a competitor through and through, so she does her best to get our hitters the ball,” Sime said. “And our hitters are really good about adjusting to her sets and doing the best they can with it.”
Holgate dished out 30 assists, which led to some big kills by Andi Day Douma, Teresa Bannan and Westervelt. Once setter and hitters are able to smoothly connect on a regular basis, Sime expects good things to happen.
“I want to see her starting to run those faster tempos just a little bit better and see our hitters really click with her,” Sime said. “Because when Andi Day, Teresa, and especially Oliviah, when they really connect with her they’re really unstoppable.”
Manhattan did not trail in the first set and then broke the second open on a nine-point service run by Westervelt. In the third set, however, the Trojans jumped out to a 7-1 lead.
While the Tigers rallied with a 12-0 run to take the lead, mistakes allowed Whitehall to hang around. The game was tied at 19 before Manhattan took the lead for good on an ace by Douma.
Douma finished with seven kills and pair of blocks, while Holgate added 12 digs. Libero Franci St. Cyr chipped in with 11 digs.
“Franci leads our defense through and through, and Andi Day being as tall as she is is a great defensive player too,” said Sime. “So those two together just make a defense work great.”
Manhattan returns to action Tuesday hosting Big Timber.
Manhattan def. Whitehall 25-18, 25-12, 25-21.
WHITEHALL - Stats not provided.
MANHATTAN (7-3) - Kills: 31 (Oliviah Westervelt 9, Andi Douma 7). Digs: 44 (Camydyn Holgate 12, Franci St. Cyr 11). Blocks: 3 (Douma 2). Aces: 11 (Teresa Bannan 4). Assists: 30 (Holgate 30).