If you arrived late Monday, you missed the lone upset during the first night of pool play at the 58th Annual Hermann Invitational Volleyball Tournament.
Pacific (6-8), seeded third in the pool, swept second-seeded Washington in two hard-fought games to open this year’s event, 25-23, 27-25.
“We knew coming into our pool that if we wanted to play in the semifinals we were going to have to play well against Washington both sets,” said Pacific Head Coach Janel Brown. “We didn’t start out real great in set one but we never gave up. Our passing was much better than it had been last week. Once we started playing our game we began winning points.”
Washington Head Coach Kym Blankenship said a cold start hurt the Lady Jays.
“The girls had a flat and lackluster start to the tournament,” Blankenship said. “The team with the least amount of unforced errors wins and we had more than our fair share against Pacific. In the second game we had 10 hitting errors almost in a row and four serving errors. You cannot beat any team with stats like that. We were not mentally prepared to play and did not adjust to what was happening around us.”
The only other close game was between pool champion Borgia (18-2-1) and Washington (9-11-1) in the final match of the evening.
“They played well,” Borgia Assistant Coach Andy Halaz said. “Washington was scrappy. They put a lot of pressure on us to step up and play well and disciplined. We had to buckle down and fortunately our offense was able come through.”
Washington needed a sweep to have a chance at making the semifinals, but Borgia was able to hold off the Lady Jays and win a tight first game, 25-20. Borgia followed up with a 25-11 win in the second game.
“Against Borgia we started to come alive and play to our potential,” Blankenship said. “We battled for the sideout against Borgia only to miss a first serve. We missed four serves in the first game and lost by five points. Unforced errors came back to haunt us again. I did see the Washington team play up to their ability in spite of the serving errors. We had smart attacks and found a way to pick up our defense and keep the ball alive with some really great plays.”
Borgia was the class of the field on Monday night, going 3-0 in matches, 6-0 in games during pool play.
“We thought we played very well tonight,” Borgia Head Coach Brad Bruns said. “We were very disciplined with our passing. We felt our blocking was a lot better than it has been in the past couple of games. I felt we ran the offense nicely. The girls did a great job and I commend them for it.”
Pacific took second by going 2-1 in matches, 4-2 in games.
“Going into the Borgia game we knew we were the underdog,” Brown said. “We couldn’t worry so much about their size and hitting power, we had to focus on us. I was happy with how we came right back and played well against Montgomery County. We could have easily lost a set after losing to Borgia just a few minutes before. I’m very happy with our performance last night.”
Washington secured the consolation match spot by going 1-2 in matches, 2-4 in games. “We had already beaten Pacific once in the season and maybe that contributed to the lack of mental focus on the importance of winning that game,” said Blankenship. “Pacific did not make the unforced errors, they instead fought very hard to keep the ball alive and let us make the errors. It was the difference from getting a shot at the championship game versus the consolation.”
And Montgomery County was winless on the night, going 0-3 in matches, 0-6 in games.
Results from Monday were:
• Pacific defeated Washington, 25-23, 27-25;
• Borgia defeated Montgomery County, 25-5, 25-9;
• Washington defeated Montgomery County, 25-16, 25-13;
• Borgia defeated Pacific, 25-7, 25-9;
• Pacific defeated Montgomery County, 25-13, 25-14; and
• Borgia defeated Washington, 25-20, 25-11.
“That first game was our chance,” Blankenship said. “As we transitioned to the second game we got behind in serve receive passing. We were not able to run our offense and were giving free balls and tips to an offensive powerhouse team only to have it smashed back at us. If we can’t run our offense we knew the game would be over soon and it was. Borgia obviously has bigger and stronger hitters than we do and run a much quicker offense. I wanted the girls to compete and do their best and I think we achieved that goal.”
In action Thursday, Washington will play the third-place finisher from Tuesday’s pool (New Haven, Owensville, Hermann and Union) in the consolation match at 4 p.m.
Borgia will take on the Tuesday pool runner-up at 5 p.m.
And Pacific meets the Tuesday pool winner at 6 p.m. in the second semifinal.
The third-place and championship matches will follow.
As a team, Borgia hit .531 against Montgomery County.
Sarah Geatley led the way with seven kills on eight swings. Audrey Arand was next with five kills while Emma Kriete and Jordan Kriete each had three kills.
Audrey Arand, Alivia Brinker and Maddie Toelke served three aces each.
“They hit their spots,” said Borgia Assistant Coach Martina Roth. “All you can do is ask them to put the serves in certain areas and they did very well.”
Brinker led the team with six digs and Jordan Kriete added four.
Emma Kriete posted four total blocks while Geatley ended with three. Janie Arand had nine assists and Toelke was next with five.
Against Pacific, Borgia hit .386 as a team. Emma Kriete paced the squad with six kills on 11 attempts. Audrey Arand (.357) and Elizabeth Mattli (.625) each posted five kills. Geatley posted four and Jordan Kriete had three.
Janie Arand had 19 assists. Brinker served three aces and led the team with 10 digs. Janie Arand posted six digs and Audrey Arand added four. Geatley and Janie Arand had two total blocks apiece.
Against Washington, Borgia hit .288 as a team. Audrey Arand recorded eight kills to lead the team. Emma Kriete was next with seven and Jordan Kriete posted four kills.
Janie Arand had 19 assists. Emma Kriete served two aces.
Brinker led the team with 11 digs. Jordan Kriete closed with six, Allie Marquart posted five and Molly Arand added four. Emma Kriete had two total blocks.
“We played well enough tonight to where everyone got into the matches and got to contribute,” Bruns said. “Everyone was a part of the game. It was a good night for Borgia volleyball.”
Brown said Ashley Hill was a standout in the Washington match with eight kills. Ellen Rogers posted five kills and three aces against Washington.
“Erica Diener was amazing last night,” Blankenship said. “Our offense was clicking and each and every hitter contributed well.”
Our defense stepped up as well.”
Statistics for Washington were not available as of press time.
Photos from Monday night’s action will be posted on www.emissourian.com later this week.