With almost every match at the Brownstown Volleyball Invitational going to three sets, teams needed to gut-out the long rallies to come out on top.
Each pool play match, consisting of four teams apiece, was pushed two hours behind because of the number of 3-set matches.
Two Jackson County schools were paired much earlier than they had anticipated in the season.
Story continues below gallery
Both Brownstown Central and Seymour went 2-1 in their respective pools and faced each other in auxiliary gym for third place.
The teams went back and forth in the first set until the Braves’ Morgan Wehmiller floated an ace to put her team up 10-9.
Up 12-10, the Braves then went on a 5-0 run to distance themselves from the Owls.
The Braves would take an eight-point lead at 23-16 before closing the set at 25-18.
In the second set, the teams traded points again at the start until the Owls went up 8-4 and the Braves called a time out.
A kill from Brooke Meyer cut the Braves deficit to 9-7, and another hit from the junior tied the game at 10-10.
The Owls’ Lauren Fletwood retook the lead for her team by serving up three-straight points.
At 16-16, Braves senior Danielle Meyer got a kill to put her team up.
The Braves didn’t look back as they won six-straight points en route to a 25-20 second set win.
Earlier in the day, the Braves defeated East Central 25-27, 25-10, 25-21 and Covenant Christian 25-13, 22-25, 25-13 while the Owls bested Silver Creek 20-25, 25-17, 25-12 and Bloomington South 26-24, 18-25, 25-19.
Owls coach Holly Birdsong wants to see her team play with better endurance moving forward, but was pleased with the start of Saturday’s tournament.
“I feel like we came out strong this morning ready to go,” Birdsong said. “As the day went on, our bodies died-down and we didn’t have anything left. We’re going to have to find a way to push through whenever we’re tired.”
The Braves’ lone loss was to Columbus East, 25-7, 25-20, and the Owls fell to Indianapolis Ritter 25-22, 25-15 at the tournament.
“I thought we recovered well (against Seymour) after not playing well against Columbus East in our pool,” Braves coach Jennifer Shade said. “We were able to get ourselves fired up. Our aggressiveness was better against Seymour on our serving and hitting.”
East emerged as the eventual winner over Ritter 25-19, 23-25, 27-25 in the championship.
“It’s a very competitive tournament,” Shade said. “The teams were close in ability, almost all went into three sets. It was a great day of volleyball. We saw a lot and gives us the experience we need to get even better.”
Shade said that while she wanted a championship on their home courts, she was pleased with her team’s performance on the day.
“When we first started the season, you don’t know what the team is going to look like,” Shade said. “These girls are working really hard in practice. We were really excited about this weekend after a great week of practice. I wanted first because I thought it was doable for us, but we’ll take third.”
For the Owls, Birdsong said her team needs to focus on their side of play.
“I think we needed to focus on our side of the net,” Birdsong said. “I think there were a lot of times when our communication was off. We had to wind them up a little but because they didn’t have as much energy as the morning. We have a couple of injuries, but it’s on them to be ready matter what.”
The Owls (3-2) and Braves (7-1) will meet again Sept. 29 in Brownstown.