Despite dropping the first game to Union, the Owensville Dutchgirls fought back to win in the semifinals of the Class 3 District 8 volleyball tournament Tuesday in Union.
Owensville, the second seed, defeated third-seeded Union, 22-25, 25-17, 25-17.
Union had hoped the third meeting of the season would be the charm and appeared to have the momentum after winning the first game.
“It was unfortunate,” said Union Head Coach Angie Morris. “We came out really strong and were doing everything right. We were hitting the ball where we needed to hit the ball, passing the ball where we needed to pass the ball, we were talking and we were doing great. Something just happened in the second set and we started to fall apart. We let them get ahead and we couldn’t catch up.”
Morris said there were highlights.
“This was the third time we played them and the first time we pushed them to three sets,” Morris said. “I’m happy about that. I’m very proud about how the girls have played this season. There have been a lot of people who thought we were just going to be down and out and not competitive this year. We were competitive this year. We’re beating the teams we need to beat and competitive with the teams that are powerhouses in this area. We’re just going to continue to build on that.”
Union had plenty of highlights in the first game though. After dropping the first two points, the Lady ‘Cats bounced back to tie it on an ace by Emily Schroeder.
Serving has been Union’s strength this season and the Lady ‘Cats were able to keep Owensville off its game from the start of plays.
Union took a 6-3 lead on an ace by senior Rachael Bassett and pushed it up to 10-5.
Owensville fought back, getting as close as 11-10, but a service error gave Union momentum once again.
Union led 20-14 on an ace by Schroeder, but had to weather an Owensville comeback. The Dutchgirls got as close as 21-20 this time before Union was able to earn another advantage.
Rebeccah Kramer served an ace to make it 23-20 and Maddy Weinhold followed with a kill. After an error, Union got the game-winner on a Clare Stowe block.
The second game was close to 3-3 but Owensville broke away soon after that. An ace by Clara Wehmeyer made it 9-4 in favor of the Dutchgirls.
Union had to fight from behind for the rest of the game, getting as close as three points at 10-7 on a kill by Elizabeth Birkman, but Union couldn’t put together that run to catch up.
Where Owensville had problems in the first game with serve receive, the Dutchgirls stepped up in the second. From the point that Owensville broke away from the 10-7 advantage, the Dutchgirls did not suffer a single ace served against them.
Instead, the only ace served for the rest of the game came from Wehmeyer, who finished out the set with an ace, 25-17.
“We let them get back into it and then we let them get so far ahead,” Morris said. “We finally started pushing and we finally started to play like we wanted, but it wasn’t enough. We didn’t transfer that intensity to the third game.”
With the momentum from the second game, Owensville continued to push in the third set. Union got as close as 7-6, but Owensville quickly opened up a large gap.
Again, Owensville didn’t allow Union to set the tempo with the serve. Union had one more ace in the match as Schroeder put one over to cut the gap to 16-10.
But Owensville took advantage of strong serves to record three aces down the stretch, including back-to-back aces by Brittany Jahnsen. An ace by libero Shelby Stiehr gave Owensville game point.
While Union scored twice, Owensville was able to finish it off before Union even had a chance to get close.
“We had a couple of serving errors and a couple of times where we couldn’t find the court,” Morris said. “Every point counts. We can’t give points away like that. We had it in us to come back, but I guess Owensville kept pushing hard.”
Union graduates three seniors, Bassett, Jillian Johnston and Lauren Terschluse.