That’s one of the few words which can describe Union’s volleyball trip to Osage County Saturday.
Going 3-0 in the event, the Union Lady ’Cats captured their first varsity tournament title in years by winning the Chamois Round Robin.
Union (7-4) survived a three-set championship match against Linn, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16.
“This is the fourth year we have been in this tournament and believe we have been the stronger team in the past but did not finish on top,” Union Head Coach Angie Morris said. “But this year we came in strong and determined to win the tournament and I could not be prouder of how well they played.”
Union also defeated Southern Boone, 25-19, 26-24, and Chamois, 25-10, 25-17.
With teams playing in the third round of pool play also scheduled to play for the championship and third-place matches, everyone decided that the third-round matches also would be for places.
Southern Boone started the final round by beating Chamois for third place, 25-10, 25-18.
“I cannot say enough about how proud I am of the girls performance at the Chamois Tournament,” said Morris. “We started the day off strong against Southern Boone. In the second set against them in pool play, we were down 19-8. My girls decided they did not want to lose that set and as a team they came back and won the set (26-24). They were focused, determined and played so aggressive during the set. It continued through the next pool play game against Chamois and carried over into our game against Linn.”
Morris said it was a team effort in earning the championship trophy.
“We served well, passed well, set well and hit aggressively,” Morris said. “But I was most impressed with the big block they put up. We have been working very hard on blocking the over-pass and Brooke Pope nailed it in the final set. It was beautiful.
Morris said both setters, Beccah Kramer and Kaitlin Voss, were instrumental in keeping opponents guessing during the event.
“Beccah and Kaitlin did a fantastic job moving the ball around and setting all of our hitters,” Morris said. “All of our hitters were on that day. Clare (Stowe) and Brooke (Pope) were fantastic in the middle. Taylor Gaebe continues to swing strong from the outside and Lizzy Birkman just keeps getting better in her position.”
The rightside hitting platoon of Ali Overstreet and Jayde Miriani also had strong play.
“Ali and Jayde did a great job on the right side putting up a great block and being at the net when needed,” said Morris. “Maddy’s (Weinhold) passing has been instrumental in the past few games and she stepped up again to play defense well in the first few sets.
Defensively, libero Victoria Kramer and defensive Elli Aldrich saved several plays.
“Victoria and Elli also came up with some big digs through the day,” Morris said. “Emily (Schroeder) and Maddy recorded more aces throughout the day.”
Union served six aces in the first game to move to a 25-20 win over Linn to start the championship match.
Schroeder had three aces and Voss added two as Union built up a 15-10 advantage.
Birkman smashed one off the block to give Union its biggest lead at 20-12.
Linn charged back near the end as Union struggled to score the final two points. An error gave Union game point and Weinhold finished with a kill, 25-20.
The roles were somewhat reversed in the second game. The teams were very close for most of the set and were tied at 18-18 before a Linn kill and an ace by Michaela Dudenhoeffer put Linn up by two.
Linn took a 24-19 advantage before Union rallied.
Kills by Stowe and Schroeder gave Union momentum. However, after a timeout, a Union error sent the match to the third game, 25-22 in favor of Linn.
The third game was very close until Schroeder went back to the service line. With the set tied at 7-7, Schroeder reeled off back-to-back aces, which helped Union build up a 12-8 lead before Linn signaled for a timeout.
Up 17-11, Union had to wait through another Linn timeout before Stowe served an ace.
Overstreet came through with two kills in a row to make it 21-14, but Union stalled.
Linn bounced back to cut it to five points before an error gave Union what it needed to move to the victory.
Overstreet smacked down another Linn pass which strayed near the net. Stowe followed with a kill to end it, 25-16.