Staying on course for its Four Rivers Conference showdown with Hermann, the New Haven volleyball Lady Shamrocks swept Union Tuesday, 25-20, 25-14.
“It was a good conference win and we have to be happy with that,” New Haven Head Coach Jaime Hoener said. “I know last year when we went to Union, it was a tough game. I figured tonight would be the same and it was. They’re a much improved team from when we beat them last week at the Hermann Tournament.”
Union Head Coach Kelli Bailey said it was a big improvement over last week’s Hermann Tournament pool match, a 25-6, 25-8 New Haven win.
“I would much rather lose giving 100 percent and playing Union volleyball than I would losing like we did last week,” Bailey said. “The fact they made the adjustments I asked them to make was big. The serves were so much better than the previous night. We only missed four tonight and we missed 10 Monday.”
New Haven (19-5-3, 3-0) started a four-match league stretch run with the win over Union (3-14, 0-2). The Lady Shamrocks go to Hermann (14-5-1, 3-0) Thursday for the first showdown of top FRC teams. New Haven plays at Sullivan (12-7-2, 3-0) Tuesday.
“We all were not really great tonight in some aspects,” Hoener said. “That happens from time to time, but we were still able to get the win and a conference victory, so I guess it all worked out fine.”
Union returned home Thursday to play Pacific (7-7-4, 1-2) and goes to the St. Clair Tournament this weekend. Union placed second to Pacific at that event last year. The Lady ’Cats host St. James (4-7, 0-2) Tuesday for senior night.
New Haven jumped out to the early lead, but Union tied it at 4-4 on a block by Amanda Schroeder and Deseray Washington, and moved on top with a New Haven error.
Bailey said Washington’s play was a positive for the team.
“I felt like Deseray really stepped up,” Bailey said. “She was trying to pick a side for their middles and made adjustments for both of them.”
Union took its biggest lead at 12-9 when Schroeder found the back corner with an attack.
New Haven fought back and tied it at 12-12 on a pair of aces by Lydia Pataky. The teams traded the lead back and forth before New Haven broke on top for good at 19-18 on a Lauren Gerlemann kill. Gerlemann then served two aces in a row to give New Haven separation.
Near the end, the Lady Shamrocks pushed the ball to Emma Engelbrecht and she scored New Haven’s final two points around a Sara Ockleston kill for Union.
Union jumped out in the second game, scoring the first four points with New Haven errors giving the Lady ’Cats an edge.
Union held that lead until New Haven tied it at 8-8 and powered ahead.
From there, the Lady Shamrocks took advantage of any opening. Grace Soete came off the bench to serve an ace for the 24th point. Gerlemann knocked a kill off the block for the final point.
“We settled down a little in the second set,” Hoener said. “We didn’t miss quite so many serves. We had a lot of unforced errors in the first set and I’m not really sure what to attribute that to. Maybe we need to have a better mindset at the start.”
Bailey said New Haven did a good job of taking her team out of system in the second game.
“We gave up free ball after free ball in the second set and really never got into a rhythm. When we did, we made a silly mistake and couldn’t keep the run going.”
Engelbrecht led New Haven with 14 kills. Gerlemann had seven while Kate Ruediger posted four, McKenzie Overschmidt added three and Mackenzie Bauer and Claire Meyer each had one kill.
New Haven served nine aces. Bauer and Lydia Pataky each had two. Engelbrecht, Gerlemann, Overschmidt, Ruediger and Soete each had one.
Bauer logged 27 assists and Gerlemann added two.
Gerlemann had one block.
Makayla Bevfoden and Taylor Seely had three kills apiece to lead Union. Washington was next with two while Ockleston, Abby Phillips, Schroeder and Zella Vinluan were credited with one kill each.
Phillips and Rachel Clark each had seven digs. Kailey Wagnaar posted six while Kylie Cudney and Seely each had three. Bevfoden, Amber Fregalette, Schroeder and Seely each had two digs.
Bevfoden and Washington each had two blocks. Ockleston and Seely were credited with one each.
Schroeder had seven assists and Fregalette posted two.