Washington’s streak of Hermann Invitational Volleyball Tournament championships ended Thursday in the event’s semifinals.
The four-time defending champion Lady Jays took the first game over their crosstown rival St. Francis Borgia Regional, but fell in the next two. Scores were 23-25, 25-12, 25-14.
Also advancing was the host team. Hermann rolled to a 25-10, 25-12 win over Pacific in the second semifinal.
One streak had to end in the night’s first semifinal between defending champion Washington and St. Francis Borgia Regional.
Washington had won the last four championships, beating Borgia for each of those titles. Borgia had a nine-year streak of reaching the championship on the line.
In the end, it was Washington’s run as champion which came to an end as Borgia prevailed in three games, 25-23, 25-12, 25-14.
“Borgia’s got a really good all-around team,” Washington Head Coach Susan Harms said. “I give them a lot of credit. I thought our girls came out and played hard, played together and stayed together. We just had trouble putting the ball down on them and they kept us playing defense all night. We were sending over some easy balls. When you’ve got a team with those types of hitters, stand back and watch. We didn’t take them out of system as often as they took us out of system. That was the crux of the last two games.”
In the first game, Borgia (18-3) jumped out to an early lead, but the Lady Jays chipped back and took the lead at 8-7.
The Lady Jays (14-11-3) built the lead up to 16-10 before Borgia started to work its way back. In the end, Washington had just enough cushion to win the opening set, 25-23, after having game point, 24-20.
“The first set, we kind of fell apart and weren’t connecting or communicating as well as we needed to,” Borgia setter Abby Lynn said. “In the second set, we realized how much we wanted it and started communicating much more. Our energy was exceptional. We kept cheering for every point, little or small. We just wanted it so badly.”
Borgia Head Coach CJ Steiger modified his lineup in the second game. Annie Arand donned the libero jersey once again and that seemed to be one of the things which jump-started the Lady Knights.
Borgia ripped out to a 7-2 lead and never looked back. Senior setter Abby Lynn scored the final two points on setter dumps and Borgia won, 25-12.
Borgia’s momentum from the second set carried over to the third. The Lady Knights scored the first three points and never trailed in the game. When Lynsey Batson and Lily Brown combined for the match’s final block, Borgia had an 11-point win.
Ella Brinkmann posted 13 kills to lead Borgia. Kaitlyn Patke had seven, Brown and Caroline Glastetter each ended with six while Lynn and Batson each had three.
Arand had 18 digs, Gabby Mattli posted 12 and Brinkmann had 11. Lynn recorded six digs, Brown had five and Patke added four.
Lynn posted 31 assists. Arand added three.
Brinkmann and Patke each had four blocks.
Brinkmann served three aces. Alicia Baylard and Patke had one each. Borgia also had eight service errors.
Washington’s statistics weren’t available at deadline.
The host team did its best to put the tournament back on time in the second semifinal match, rolling over Pacific, 25-10, 25-12.
“I think Hermann outdoes us on the offensive side,” Pacific Head Coach Kersten McDonough said. “They’re solid and they’re not going to make the mistakes. They outweigh us offensively, especially with (Grace) Winkelmann. We tried our best to set them in front of her, but we didn’t execute as well as I thought we should have.”
Hermann was able to push the ball to its attacking standouts, such as Winkelmann and Malerie Schutt, but Pacific helped Hermann, too.
Unforced errors, such as going into the net and serving out of bounds, plagued Pacific throughout the match. The Lady Indians struggled to get a first pass on target, forcing setters to chase the ball.
The Lady Indians were able to go on a couple of runs, but nothing which made Hermann sweat.
Phil Landolt, in his first season as Hermann’s head coach, had his setter move the ball around. Winkelmann got the lion’s share of the swings, but several others also came through when their numbers were called.
Winkelmann led Hermann with 11 kills. Ellie Engemann was next with five. Schutt and Chloe Witte each had three kills.
Hannah Grosse dished out 19 assists. Witte had two.
Engemann and Grosse had two blocks apiece. Grace Godat, Winkelmann and Witte had one block each.
Chelsey Moeckli, Winkelmann and Witte each served one ace.
Piper Linder led Pacific with eight kills. Jackie Tarabelli had three, Grace Smiley ended with two and Annie Tomlinson posted one.
Alexis Haley was the assists leader with 12. Haley Greer and Genna Nickelson each had one.
Nickelson had eight digs.
Kate Taylor posted two blocks. Linder and Tarabelli each added one.
Owensville needed three games to edge Montgomery County, 21-25, 25-20, 25-19.