STERLING – Sterling improved to 7-0 on the volleyball court, but Newman made the Warriors work.
Kiarra Harris did the bulk of the work, lifting Sterling to a 25-22, 25-19 win over the Comets on Monday night at Newman.
In a second set that saw the Comets lead 8-3 and 16-12 before the Warriors battled back, Harris accounted for nearly half of Sterling’s points, collecting 10 kills and two blocks.
“As a captain and a senior, I feel like if I’m going, it gets everybody else going,” said Harris, who had 16 kills overall.
The Warriors did not lead the second set until they went up 18-17 on the first of back-to-back aces by freshman Kaylee Martin.
Harris went back to work down the stretch, providing four kills and two blocks in the final six points. She went kill, kill, block to close the match.
“If I feel the need, I’ll start calling for the ball more often,” Harris said.
“Kiarra leads with her play,” Sterling coach Dale Dykeman said. “She wants the ball. If we can get her one-on-one with most kids, she’s going to win that most of the time.”
Bree deLong had two kills and Aubree Schmitt an ace in the 8-3 start for Newman (4-4). Schmitt had a team-high six kills. deLong had four kills and three aces.
“I couldn’t ask for more from the girls,” Comets coach Debbi Kelly said. “We were outsized. Our goal was to dig the ball up and make them make mistakes and put them on the defensive. I think we did that at times.”
After Sterling fought back to pull even at 10-all, Newman went back up 16-12 thanks to a kill from Megan Rosengren and an ace by Kayci Howell.
In the first set, the Warriors jumped in front 8-1 as Harris set the tone at the net. The Comets battled back to tie at 13-all and eventually worked in front 21-20. After the score was tied at 21 and 22, Sterling finished things off with three straight points.
Martin continues to be a force for the Warriors. She had team-highs of nine digs and three aces, plus six kills.
“Her hits are powerful,” Harris said of the phenom. “Once you see it, you get a blast knowing that she’s a freshman doing that at the varsity level. It’s exciting to watch her.”
Star of the match: Kiarra Harris, Sterling, 16 kills
Key performers: Kaylee Martin, Sterilng, 9 digs, 6 kills; Aubree Schmitt, Newman, 6 kills
Up next: Newman at Riverdale, 7 p.m. tonight; Yorkville at Sterling, 7 p.m. Thursday