They weren’t going to take a loss on their home court again.
Washington Lady Jays volleyball (2-1, 2-0) opened Gateway Athletic Conference Central play Tuesday with a three-set victory over Timberland (0-1, 0-1) in Blue Jay Gym, 17-25, 25-20, 25-21.
The Lady Jays went on to best Ft. Zumwalt South (1-2, 0-1) on the road Thursday, 20-25, 21-25, 25-23 in another conference matchup.
Tuesday’s conference opener was a rematch between the defending GAC Central co-champions. Both Washington and Timberland finished 9-1 in league play in 2018, splitting their head-to-head matchups with the road team winning both times.
Washington earned a hard-fought victory on their home floor over the Lady Wolves this time around.
The third and deciding set saw a total of 12 ties with Timberland taking the tiebreaking point on nine of those 12 occasions.
However, Washington broke the set’s final tie at 20-20, building a two-point lead before finishing the game with three consecutive points for a final of 25-21.
“You need a little bit of that, just so that they know they have that in them,” Washington Head Coach Susan Harms said. “Last year, we went there and beat them and they weren’t happy with that and came here and beat us on our home court. We weren’t going to let that happen again. It was a big conference win.”
Washington found momentum midway through the second set after a slow start in the first.
“We came out slow and just weren’t passing the ball real well,” Harms said. “They were hitting the ball real well. They’re a good team. We just couldn’t get our passes up and it felt like we were playing defense the whole first game. All we were doing was scrambling the ball.”
The Lady Jays worked the ball in through the middle, amassing what was at one point a 19-9 advantage in the second set.
“Once we get the ball to our setter and we can get a good set, we’re going to be all right,” Harms said. “If she’s scrambling around trying to set, we’re in trouble.”
Timberland came back to make the second set close, but could not make up the complete difference, setting the stage for the back-and-forth third and final set.
Middle blocker Kassidy Phillips, who secured the game’s final point with a tip over two defenders into undefended territory, led Washington with 11 kills and three blocks.
Abby Redd posted five kills and four blocks from the middle of the net.
Emma Duncan and Josie Obermark turned in four kills each. Hallie Giesike made two kills.
Gieseke and Obermark each blocked two.
Phillips served two aces. Morgan Gratza and Jackie Oetterer served one ace apiece.
Oetterer made 21 assists.
Duncan added two assists and Redd and Cierstyn Jacquin made one assist each.
Gratza, the libero, made 17 digs.
Other Washington dig totals included Josie Collier (14), Phillips (13), Obermark (eight), Duncan (six), Jacquin (five), Oetterer (three), Redd (two) and Gieseke (one).
After again falling in the first set, the Lady Jays bounced back to take each of the last two and pick up the win.
Phillips pounded down 15 kills with four blocks.
Obermark, Redd and Claire Strubberg made three kills apiece.
Collier, Duncan and Giesike each turned in two kills.
Sophie Howell and Oetterer made one kill each.
Redd blocked two. Obermark and Oetterer both blocked one.
Oetterer posted 28 assists.
Giesike made three assists and Duncan one.
Jacquin and Phillips served two aces apiece.
Phillips and Gratza tied for the team lead in digs with 22 apiece.
Other dig totals included Collier (12), Oetterer (nine), Jacquin (seven), Howell (three), Duncan (two), Redd (two) and Strubberg (two).
Washington plays Saturday in the Borgia Tournament, taking on St. Dominic, Parkway West and Lutheran South in pool play.