For The Tribune
Trinity Lutheran’s volleyball team got off to a great start in the Loogootee Regional by defeating Barr-Reeve 25-22 Saturday afternoon.
The teams were tied in the second set at 21-21 before the Vikings scored the final four points for a 25-21 win, and carried that momentum over to 25-19, 25-20 wins in the final two sets to advance to the championship match Saturday night.
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Cougars coach Chelsea Stroub said she liked the way her team came out swinging in the first set.
“We kept control of the ball a lot,” she said. “Our ball control was really good in that first game. We came out strong and were just on fire. We came out swinging, moving. Our defense was really playing well.”
The first set was tied at 7-7 when the Cougars scored six straight points with Abby Schult leading the rally with two kills and a tip for three points during that time.
Set point came on a net violation by the Vikings.
The Vikings moved ahead 13-9 in the second set before kills by Cloe Criswell and Hannah Sabotin, plus a push by the Vikings closed the difference to 13-12.
The Vikings moved the lead back to 16-12 before the Cougars rallied and tied the set at 21-21 in a net violation by Barr-Reeve.
Barr-Reeve finished strong with three kills and used a hitting error by the Cougars for the 4-0 run.
Stroub said the Vikings stepped up their intensity and began to find holes in Trinity’s defense late in the second set and that carried over to the final two sets.
“They changed their style of play and it put us in kind of a little hiccup, I guess,” Stroub said. “They were swinging hard, they were moving around our blocks which made our defense have to adjust, and we weren’t adjusting completely.”
She said that Barr-Reeve’s serving was a factor late in the match.
“They had really good serving, which took us out of system a little bit. As soon as we were off the net we couldn’t get a full approach in on our swings.”
The third set was tied at 2-2 before the Vikings rallied for a 10-6 lead. Abby Hackman came up with a block that helped the Cougars go on a 5-1 run to tie the score at 11 all.
A kill by Bailey Reynolds tied the score at 16-16.
The Vikings led 18-16 a few minutes later when both teams mixed up their attacking and tipping, and back-row players from both teams dove on the floor to make saves.
After the ball crossed the net several times, it finally fell to the floor on Trinity’s side of the net, giving the Vikings a big boost of momentum, and they pulled away for the win.
Barr-Reeve jumped on top 6-2 in the fourth set, and held leads of 15-8 and 18-11 before the Cougars made one final charge and used a block by Sabotin and Hackman to close the gap to 18-14. The Cougars used an attacking error by the Vikings to tie the score at 19-all but Trinity managed only one more point and finished the season 21-14.
Trinity had 34 attack kills with Hackman and Sabotin both having six and Reynolds five.
Sabotin was 17-for-19 with three aces, and the Cougars were 80-for-86 with five aces for the day.
Ashley Goecker was the leader in digs with 28, and Sabotin had five blocks.
Stroub said in the end, Barr-Reeve did a better job of attacking than her team.
“They were swinging hard,” she said. “They were very strong attacking, and we were a very strong attacking team as well, but they were scrappy and they got the ball to the right players at the right time so they were playing very smart.
“They picked our holes, they found them.”
Stroub said her team has a lot to be proud of.
“We had a great season, a great group of girls,” she said “We’re going to miss our seniors, and just these girls in general. They’re just great on and off the court.”