Just as expected, it came down to a winner-take-all set for the MSHSAA Class 2 volleyball state title Saturday at the Show-Me Center in Cape Girardeau.
And that’s just what the program with the most state championships wanted.
Linda Lampkin’s Hermann Lady Bearcats thrived under pressure to win the program’s 13th state title over Arcadia Valley, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17.
“There were a lot of long rallies in the game and I think it was an exciting match for the fans to watch,” Lampkin said. “It was what a championship match should be.”
Hermann (33-5-2) and Arcadia Valley (32-6-2) had split in the pool play match Friday and both went 2-1 in matches, 5-1 in games, to reach the title contest.
Hermann, making its 24th appearance in the championships, had a little bit of an edge over Arcadia Valley, which finished fourth in 2015 in its other state tournament visit.
“Again, the girls looked like they were ready to get the match started,” Lampkin said. “I did not sense that they were very nervous. I do think there was a great deal of adrenaline flowing when that first set started.”
Hermann set the tone with a win in the opening set.
“We came out firing in Game 1, thanks to that adrenaline, we seemed to be above the block when we attacked the ball and we were pretty successful swinging in set No. 1,” Lampkin said. “We held a lead for most of the game. They did tie it at 11, but we pulled ahead on an Allison Stiers kill and we managed to hold a lead for the rest of the game and the 25-21 win.”
Stiers had a massive match, one of the best state championship matches in Hermann’s deep volleyball history, with 14 kills, 17 assists, 23 digs and a block assist.
“Allison Stiers had a tremendous championship match,” Lampkin said. “She has been a big leader for us all season long and she did not disappoint in that game. She was definitely not going to settle for second place. She experienced that two years ago and she was not going down without a fight this time. She finished the game with a triple double. Not a bad way to end your high school volleyball career.”
Arcadia Valley wasn’t ready to roll over and the Ironton school fired back to win the second game by the reverse of the first game.
“They played a really good game in the second set,” said Lampkin. “They did not give up and their defense was relentless. We were having trouble finding the floor with our attacks.”
Arcadia Valley made the adjustments to take away attacking zones and that helped the Lady Tigers come back from an early deficit.
“We had a very early lead, but they tied it at 6-6 and pulled ahead 9-6 and 10-7,” Lampkin said. “It was back-and-forth at that point with the score being tied nine times from 11-11 to 19-19.”
Arcadia Valley finally pulled away at that point.
“They scored on a block and a kill for a 21-19 lead,” Lampkin said. “We were able to score two more times on kills by Allison Stiers, but it wasn’t enough in the end, and they won that set 25-21.”
That brought it to the third set for the championship and Hermann set the tone with the first five points. Stiers served during that run.
“In that stretch they had a net foul and two attack errors,” Lampkin said. “They appeared to be a little rattled. They came within one at 9-8, but that was as close as they got. At one point we held a 20-10 lead. They were not going to give up easily though and it took five more sideouts for us to score the game winning point.”
Hermann knocked down 47 kills in the title match while hitting .245. Arcadia Valley had 38 kills and hit .174.
Following Stiers were Chloe Witte, Chloe Tyree and Grace Winkelmann, who had eight kills apiece. Emma Godat chipped in with five kills and Caraline Brune added four.
Brune was the assists leader with 28 and Tyree also had one.
In the digs department, five of the six Hermann players ended in double digits and Hermann logged 93 digs in the match. Arcadia Valley posted 79.
Godat joined Stiers with 23 digs. Tyree was next with 19 while Winkelmann closed with 13 digs. Brune had 10 digs to make it a double-double for the day. Witte added five digs.
“Everyone contributed in the match on Saturday,” Lampkin said. “Gracie and Allison had a bunch of kills early in the match. Chloe Tyree, Chloe Witte and Emma Godat came up with key kills in Set No. 3. Caraline Brune led in assists. Defensively Emma Godat, Allison Stiers and Chloe Tyree all had double digit digs.”
Lampkin also credited the serve receive, which she felt was one of the keys to the weekend success. Hermann was credited with only two receiving errors in the title match.
“Overall, I thought our serve receive was outstanding throughout the tournament,” Lampkin said. “That’s a big reason we were successful. After we played Arcadia Valley in pool play we made an effort to serve tougher and I think that was a key factor in our wins over Liberty and St. Michael. It was a good tournament for us. The girls were tired but very happy that they had accomplished their biggest goal for the season.”
For Arcadia Valley, Maddie DeMent recorded 12 kills and hit .353 for the match.
Kirsten Day was next with nine kills. Josie Landrum contributed six kills while Gracee Smith and Macey Bowers each had three, and Katie Whited added one.
Bowers logged 20 digs while Smith and Landrum were next with 15 and DeMent added 10. Whited posted seven, Laney Tucker recorded five, Day had four and Cierra Layton recorded three.
Tucker had a solo block and a block assist. Landrum had two block assists and DeMent added one.
Tucker served both aces. Bowers had 32 assists while Smith and Landrum each added two and Whited and Day had one apiece.