GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — When a volleyball match is tied at a set apiece, the third set can prove to play a pivotal role for the remainder of the contest.
The Class D-1 semifinals match between Howells-Dodge and Bruning-Davenport/Shickley was just like that.
BDS won a hard-fought third set 32-30. The Eagles advanced to the Class D-1 state championship match with a 25-17, 23-25, 32-30, 25-12 win at Grand Island Senior High on Friday night.
Howells-Dodge had four opportunities to clinch set point. BDS clinched set point on its fifth try in the third set. Leading 31-30, Matyson Kleinschmidt connected on an ace serve to give the Eagles a 2-1 advantage in the match.
Earlier in the set, Howells-Dodge gave up its 20-16 lead. The Eagles capped off a 6-1 run with a block by Jaycie Hoins. Hoins' play gave BDS a 22-21 lead. Howells-Dodge later led 24-22 when it battle of earning set point between both teams.
“It was like a punch in the gut for us,” Howells-Dodge coach Neil VanLengen said. “It went off our hands. That was a big play. We recovered from that, but when they ended up getting that, it was devastating to us.”
BDS kept the momentum on its side of the net in the fourth set. The Eagles, which never trailed, jumped out to an 8-3 lead following a kill by Matyson Kleinschmidt.
The Jaguars later pulled to within 9-6 before BDS went on a tear with a 9-0.
“It was big to get that win (in the third set),” BDS coach Dan Sorge said. “I think we started to serve more aggressive in the fourth game.”
The Eagles also beat Howells-Dodge in the first set. The Jaguars held an early 9-6 lead. BDS answered with an 8-0 run to swing the momentum into its favor. A block by McKenna Schardt put the Eagles up 14-9.
The Jaguars would later cut their deficit to 17-15 with an Emily Brichacek kill.
BDS closed out the opening set with a 7-1 run, capped off with a kill by Kleinschmidt.
Howells-Dodge responded by winning the second set. The Jaguars overcame an 18-13 deficit in that frame. With the score tied at 23 late, Howells-Dodge finished things off by scoring the final two points. Samantha Brester and Amanda Evert combined to block a BDS attacking attempt, giving the Jaguars a 24-23 advantage. On the next play, Kalli Brester put down a kill to tie the match at 1.
“Our girls have just so much heart,” VanLengen said. “They battle and battle. We played and got after it. It was a fun match and a great effort by both teams.”
Brichacek finished with 17 kills for Howells-Dodge. Teamamte Kalli Brester followed with 16 kills. Samantha Brester had four blocks, while Amanda Evert handed out 39 set assists.
Kleinschmidt and Christy Swartzendruber each had 12 kills for BDS. Kleinschmidt and Hoins each contributed 17 set assists. Kalli Schroeder and Swartzendruber each connected on three ace serves.
Howells-Dodge was scheduled to play Friend in the consolation match on Saturday at Grand Island Northwest High School. BDS will play St. Mary's in the championship match at the Heartland Events Center at 8:30 p.m.
BDS ............................................................ 25 23 32 25
Howells-Dodge .......................................... 17 25 30 12
HD (kills-aces-blocks): Amanda Evert 0-0-1, Morgan Baumert 0-2-0, Faith Molacek 4-0-1, Emily Brichacek 17-1-3, Kalli Brester 16-0-0, Samantha Brester 5-0-4, Kelly Cech 1-0-1, Jill Rocheford 0-2-0.
BDS: Kalli Schroeder 0-3-0, Jill Schroeder 6-0-1, Catherine Mick 1-0-1, Jaycie Hoins 0-0-1, McKenna Schardt 10-1-1, Christy Swartzendruber 12-3-0, Matyson Kleinschmidt 12-1-0.
Set assists: HD, Evert 39, Rocheford 1. BDS, Hoins 17, Kleinschmidt 17, Swartzendruber 2, Maddi Yantzie 1, Schroeder 1, Mick 1.