Burwell coach Nancy Jeffres said winning Tuesday's Heartland Lutheran Triangular was exactly what her Longhorns needed after getting off to somewhat of a disappointing start this season.
Burwell opened with a 25-14, 25-23 victory over the host Red Hornets and then rallied for a 17-25, 25-15, 25-16 victory over Palmer in what proved to be the championship match. The victories gave the Longhorns their first triangular win of the season and improved their record to 7-9.
“We have lost some games we shouldn't have lost where we just didn't play very well — not up to our potential,” Jeffres said. “Winning tonight just really helps us. It allows us to gain a little confidence and this is the first triangular we've played in where we have actually grabbed two wins, so it's nice to be able to get some momentum and confidence built up.”
Jeffres said she especially liked the way the Longhorns responded after dropping the first set to Palmer.
“We didn't do very well receiving serve in the first set and we had to do a better job, which we did,” Jeffres said. “I played 13 girls tonight in two matches. We rattled our lineup a little bit and we're still looking for the combinations that are going to work the best.”
McKenna McClintic had 11 kills, eight assists, two blocks and two ace serves to lead Burwell against Palmer. Jessica Domeier added 12 assists, while Andi Plock, Lacey White and Emilie Chaffin had four kills apiece.
Against Heartland Lutheran, McClintic finished with 11 assists and four kills. Breanna Dawe added four kills and two blocks for Burwell, which played some of its best volleyball of the season.
“I liked that we were aggressive,” Jeffres said. “We were swinging harder than we had been and I thought we were playing decent defense. We kept the ball in play and let the other teams make the mistakes, which helps.”
Kara Valasek had nine kills and Whitney Valasek had seven kills for Palmer (3-6) in its three-set loss to Burwell. Maddi Tibbetts had 12 assists and Claira Thede added nine assists for the Tigers.
Palmer rebounded from its setback against Burwell with a 29-27, 20-25, 25-18 victory over Heartland Lutheran. Jessie Valasek had 12 kills and Kara Valasek had nine kills to lead the Tigers.
“I was really nervous coming into our second match because when we went into the locker room after the Burwell match, there were tears shed and we had lost our momentum,” Palmer coach Whitney Hester said. “We thought we were coming in big, but then we got knocked off in our last two sets.
“So, starting with warm-ups for Heartland Lutheran, we knew we really had to get serious and buckle down.”
Despite the two losses, Heartland Lutheran coach Kathryn Langrehr said she was thrilled with the way the Red Hornets competed.
“It was good to see, honestly,” Langrehr said. “Tonight, I think we showed that we're really learning how to battle and step up to the level of the competition. I really couldn't have been more proud of the kids tonight.”
Bethany Hollman was dominant at the net for Heartland Lutheran (3-8) against Palmer, finishing with eight kills and 6.5 blocks. Elizabeth Bergdolt had five kills and three blocks and Claire Hiegel finished with eight assists for the Red Hornets.
Hollman had five kills, four aces and three blocks in Heartland Lutheran's loss to Burwell.
Burwell ..................... 25 25
BURWELL (kills-aces-block)—Cassidy Goodman 4-2-0, Jessica Domeier 0-2-0, Emilie Chaffin 4-0-0, Breanna Dawe 4-0-2, Johanna Wagner 0-0-0, McKenna McClintic 4-1-0, Alissa Maxson 0-3-0, Samantha Hughes 1-2-1, Shea Jeffres 0-0, Miranda Worden 2-0-0, Andi Plock 2-1-0. Totals 21-11-3.
HLHS (kills-aces-blocks)—Justine Bader 0-0-0, Carolyn Bergdolt 1-0-0, Elizabeth Bergdolt 2-1-0, Jordyn Barnett 0-0-0, Claire Hiegel 0-1-1, Bethany Hollman 5-4-3, Sydney Schmitt 0-1-0, Alyssa Roerich 2-0-0. Totals 10-7-4.
Assists—Burwell 16 (Domeier 4, Chaffin 1, McClintic 11), HLHS 8 (C.Bergdolt 3, E.Bergdolt 1, Hiegel 3, Roerich 1).
Palmer..........................5 15 16
Burwell (7-9)...........17 25 25
PALMER (kills-aces-blocks)—Clair Dush 0-0-0, Kara Valasek 9-3-0, Whitney Valasek 7-1-1, Jessie Valasek 4-2-1, Maddi Tibbetts 0-3-0, Skye Mach 0-0-0, Bailey Simonson 2-0-0, Claira Thede 0-1-0, Cortney Wichmann 4-0-0. Totals 26-10-2.
BURWELL (kills-aces-blocks)—Andi Plock 4-3-0, Cassidy Goodman 2-0-0, Alissa Maxon 0-0-0, Jessica Domeier 0-1-0, Lacey White 4-0-0, McKenna McClintic 11-2-2, Miranda Worden 1-0-1, Emilie Chaffin 4-0-0, Samantha Hughes 0-2-0, Eli Sears 0-0-0, Shea Jeffres 0-1-0, Johanna Wagner 2-0-1. Totals 28-9-4.
Assists—Palmer 22 (Tibbetts 12, Thede 9, Wichmann 1), Burwell 23 (Domeier 12, McClintic 8, Worden 1, Chaffin 2).
Palmer (3-6).............29 20 25
HLHS (3-8)...................27 25 18
PALMER (kills-aces-blocks)—Whitney Valasek 5-2-0, Jessie Valasek 12-0-0, Kara Valasek 9-0-1, Maddi Tibbetts 0-0-0, Bailey Simonson 3-0-0, Skye Mach 0-1-0, Clair Dush 0-0-0, Cortney Wichmann 5-0-0, Claira Thede 3-0-0. Totals 37-3-1.
HLHS (kills-aces-blocks)—Justine Bader 1-1-0, Elizabeth Bergdolt 5-0-3, Jordyn Barnett 1-0-0, Claire Hiegel 3-1-1, Bethany Hollman 8-2-6.5, Sydney Schmitt 2-1-0.5, Carolyn Bergdolt 1-0-0, Alyssa Roerich 2-0-0. Totals 23-5-11.