The Bridgeport volleyball team’s late-season surge will be continuing into the Class C-2, District 6 final on Friday after the Bulldogs captured the C2-12 sub-district championship in exciting fashion Tuesday at Scottsbluff High School.
Bridgeport opened with a sweep over Hemingford 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 and then toppled top-seeded Bayard 25-15, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20 to earn the sub-district crown. Bayard earned a spot in the title match with a 25-23, 25-15, 25-12 win over Morrill.
Bridgeport senior setter Sydney Faessler said her hitters came up big at the net.
“I thought our freshman Anna Ernest stepped up big for us tonight and hit some open shots,” Faessler said. “Jamie Schnieder played well and Aimee Hass on the rightside was on all night. I kept feeding her the ball and she was doing really well.”
Faessler, who finished with 28 assists against Bayard and 29 assists against Hemingford, said it feels great to extend the season, especially how hard they fought in the contest against Bayard. The Bulldogs fought back from a 9-3 deficit in game two to capture the second set 25-17, which turned out huge.
“We didn’t come out real strong, but in the end we pulled together,” Faessler said. “I thought we made some great comebacks where we were down a numerous times by nine or so, and making those comebacks helped us win the games.”
Faessler, who made some nice saves running towards the bleachers on a number of occasions, said the big key for the win was the way they played defense.
“We worked really hard on our defense all week in practice and I think it really paid off,” Faessler said. “We were getting balls up. We were moving all together and flowing really well.”
Bayard coach Cindy Korell said her team just made too many errors at the wrong time. Still, she was proud of her young team especially how they kept fighting back from deficits.
“We always got down during the season and we always had a way of fighting back. That was one of the things we improved upon from last year where last year we probably would have lost in three. We came back and almost took it to five where we expected the game to go to five anyway.
“We played really well and passed really well in the third set. It was a team effort tonight and I am proud of them. I wouldn’t trade them for any other team. I love them all to death and it is unfortunate we were on the bottom tonight.”
In the opening set, Bridgeport built a 9-3 lead behind three points from freshman AdreAnna Ernest. Bayard fought back to slice the led to one, 9-8, on four points, including two aces from Kaylyn Long. The Bulldogs came right back to go up 14-9 on a Jamie Schnieder kill and then closed out the contest as Ernest served the final five points for the win.
Bayard came out in the second set with the upper hand, vaulting to an 8-3 lead behind four points from Miah Vera . Bridgeport vame back behind three points from Stephanie Berry and then six points from Katherine Amaties to take a 15-10 lead. The Bulldogs went up 22-14 on two points from Brooke Shneider before Faessler finished off the set with two points along with a kill and block from Nerry.
Breanne Korell started Bayard off on the right foot in set thre with four straight aces for a 5-1 lead. The Tigers pushed the lead to 10-3 and later 13-5 on three Long points. The Tigers kept staying hot, going up 18-10 on three points and a kill from Megan Stuart.
Bridgeport fought back, slicing the lead to 21-20 on three Faessler service points, but a kill from Long and then a couple rotations later a point from Long gave Bayard the third set 25-21.
Bayard started the fourth set strong as Hannah Lenhart had three points for a 5-2 lead, but a kill from Ernest and four points from Faessler put Bridgeport up 7-5. Bayard came back to tie the game at 10-10 and later 14-14 on two Korell points. Bridgeport went up 19-15 only to watch Bayard cut the lead to 21-20 on a Stuart kill. Bridgeport came back to get the win as Berry srrved the final three points.
Against Bayard, Faessler had 28 assists; Kildow had six kills, three aces and 10 digs; Schneider had 31 digs; Schnieder had nine kills and two blocks; Hass had four kills and four blocks; Ernest had four aces, seven kills and 11 digs; and Katherine Amaties had 14 digs.
In the Hemingford win, Kildow had three aces, five kills, and six digs; Schneider had 24 digs; Faessler had 29 assists and three kills; Berry had four kills; Schnieder had 11 kills, three blocks, and five digs; Aimee Hass had two kills; and Ernest had 15 digs, 13 kills and two aces.
Bridgeport advances to play North Platte St. Pats on Friday in the district final. Faessler said they have to play exactly like they did today minus the deficits. She added that this team has come a long ways from the beginning of the season and they are starting to find that rhythm.
“We had a rough start losing all of our starters but we ended up pulling together,” she said. “We worked really hard in practices and we have that connection finally.”