GARDINER — Even down early in its first set Thursday night, the Gardiner volleyball team kept the attitude of a winner.

Trailing 11-2 early in the first set, the Tigers stayed loose, eventually tied Nokomis 14-14 and won the set 25-18.

It was the only blemish for Gardiner, which beat Nokomis 3-0 in the Bragoli Gym.

“We started out a little slow,” Gardiner head coach Tiffany Ouellete said. “But they picked it up and pulled it off. They know better. We’ve been working in practice on starting out strong, because they start out very slow. They’ve done it all year, they did it again tonight. You’ve got to start with a lot of energy, you’ve got to start with those good first few plays to set the tone of the game.”

Lizzy Gruber proved to be a force down by the net throughout the game for Gardiner. Offensively, the 6-4 senior was able to provide some hard spikes, while also notching some blocks on defense. She was aided by fellow senior Emily Grady, who provided strong serves throughout the match.

Gardiner’s Emily Grady hits the ball during a volleyball match against Nokomis on Thursday n Gardiner. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“We started pretty slow today, but after a while, we all know we have each other’s backs,” Gruber said. “So (the thought is) ‘Don’t stress, we know what you can do.’ We just picked it up , played together and had each other’s backs on every pass, calling the ball, to keep things rolling.”

After battling the Warriors (2-2) in the first set, Gardiner cruised in the ensuing two sets, with scores of 25-12 in the second set and 25-16 in the third. Despite the final score, Nokomis was game and battled throughout, led by some strong serves from sophomore Jayden Hood.

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