By John Tawa, Posted
04/13 on PrepVolleyball.com
Summit-Nitro and Top
Select both had stakes in the outcome of the match. A Circle City win would
clinch the final bid for SNVBC. A LoneStar victory, which would put the Texans
in the final versus Dynasty, would drop Circle to 1-2 and bring Top Select back
into the discussion.
Circle City rallied
from behind to win the first set, 25-23, and led the second, 21-19, before
LoneStar scored six of the last seven, capped by a Nicole Piatas kill, to send the teams to a third
Circle City, on kills
from Phillips, Gretchen Kuckkan and Holly Eastridge, started Game 3 with a 4-2 lead and
extended it to 14-8 on two Baird kills. I told SNVBC coach Gass to stay close
because I wanted to interview him once his team’s bid was assured.
Caroline Swan scored for LoneStar. Then Annie Swan and
Swenson teamed on a block. Hanan would not let his team lay down.
“We said, ‘Keep our
composure. Anything can happen. We know that we’ve been in this situation
before. Swing to win. Don’t play safe or you will lose.’ We saw them playing safe.
We were aggressive and our defense took us to another level.”
With Hailey Hoang anchoring the back row and the
LoneStar front court getting touches on every swing, even those on the 6-3
Baird on the left side, LoneStar continued to rally, getting a Swenson kill and
ace and kill from Stephanie Young to cut the
lead to 14-13. Circle continued to go to Baird, its horse, but LoneStar was
committed to stopping her.
“Any ball, good or bad
pass, probably was going to her,” said Hanan. “We shifted our defense to wait
on her the whole time. If she was going to beat us we were going to do it with
our best players on her.”
Hecht scored to tie it
for LoneStar, which had six in a row and all the momentum. Young then aced
again and you could see the life go out of Circle City. A hitting error
completed the 8-0 finishing run for LoneStar, which erupted at the end.
“What a great way to
get to Gold!” Hanan exclaimed.
deferred Summit-Nitro’s bid. It gave Top Select life and a shot to steal it
from the Texans, but the shot was the longest of long.
Top Select needed to
first defeat Rockwood Thunder in a playoff to 25. If not, SNVBC got the bid.
Top Select then needed to beat Circle in a playoff to 25. If not, the bid to
Summit-Nitro. If Top Select managed that, it then needed to defeat resting
Summit-Nitro in a match for third-place overall.
Like I said, the
longest of long shots.
The dream ended in the
first playoff for Top Select. Kills from Bair, Livie
Sandt and Staciana Stockhelped
Rockwood open up an 18-12 lead. With Mallory Downing serving,Top
Select rattled off five in a row to pull within one at 18-17. But two kills
from Bair, another from Stock and Stock’s blockin tandem with Sandt made it
22-18 Rockwood late. Defense from Ashley Federer and Andrea Zeiser and kills from Sandt and Emily Rehagen helped salt away the win.
exploded from their chairs when the final point went down in the 25-19 Rockwood
win. Gass permitted himself a big smile.
“We were just grinding
out points,” he said when asked about his team’s journey over the weekend. “It
was a good team effort. 2-1 yesterday and 2-1 today put us in position. We work
them hard in practice. It’s a great group of girls. Our best team is us when we
practice 6 on 6.”
In addition to Perdue,
the team’s star, Emily Janek, Aaryn Scires, Panhans
and Julia Adams were special in the team’s push to the
“It takes everybody,”
While the playoff was
happening, unbeknownst to the tournament desk, Dynasty and LoneStar were
throwing down in the 15 Open championship match. Dynasty won the first, 25-13,
as fast middle Gartner contributed to Dynasty’s fast start. Young and Annie
Swan helped LoneStar capture the second, 25-20. Dynasty led Game 3, 4-3, after
Hickman’s line shot capped a rally that featured digs from Lauren Maceliand Loren Hinkle.
Caroline Swan answered for LoneStar.
The set went into
overtime, while I was in the corner of the convention center watching LoneStar
16s battle for a bid with Triangle. Dynasty won, 17-15, saving two match points
against in the process. Undersized OH Jaquelin Storm was
the hero, winning match point on a joust a few points after saving match point
against with a dig that careened off of her head and over the net.