GENEVA — Just a few weeks ago the Exeter-Milligan Timberwolves defeated the Hampton Hawks 3-1 to win the CRC title.
On Monday night in a match that lasted nearly two hours the Hawks returned the favor as they won the Class D2-2 subdistrict by the identical 3-1 score at Fillmore Central High School.
Exeter-Milligan took the first set 27-25, but then Hampton, just as the T-Wolves had done at the CRC, won the next three by the scores of 25-20, 29-27, 25-22.
Despite the loss the Exeter-Milligan girls who came in as the No. 3 rated team in D2 and leader in wildcard points will more than likely be in next weeks state tournament.
Hampton will look to win the district title Thursday night against either Sterling or Falls City Sacred Heart.
On Monday night the Hawks had two set points to take a 1-0 lead in the opening set, but after a Madison VanHousen kill gave them a 25-24 lead, a wide serve, a Marissa Howard kill and an attack error on the Hawks gave the T-Wolves the 1-0 lead with the 27-25 win.
Hampton took control of the second set when a double hit and VanHousen ace serve put the Hawks on top 9-7 and they never trailed again.
Exeter-Milligan kept the game within two points until Tayler Klassen and VanHousen scored back to back kills to open the Hawks lead to 17-13.
The Timberwolves never got closer than two points as the Hampton girls evened out the match at 1-1.
The third game set the tone for the fourth set as the two teams battled tooth and nail to the end.
Exeter-Milligan had three set point opportunities, but the Hawks spoiled all three of those chances with a Klassen kill, a VanHousen winner and a double hit on the T-Wolves.
With the score tied at 27-27, Hampton’s Tayma Sebek rejected the attack from EM’s Howard for the stuff and that was followed by a Sebek kill to give the Hampton girls a 2-1 lead.
The fourth set saw the Hawks open an11-6 lead and Exeter-Milligan fought back to within a point at 14-13, 15-14, but kills from Klassen and VanHousen extended the No. 6 Hawks lead to 17-14.
Exeter-Milligan pulled to within 19-18 and tied the score at 20-20 before back to back VanHousen slams put the Hawks to within one point at 24-21.
Howard kept the T-Wolves alive with a kill, but VanHousen’s 20th winner of the night gave the Hawks the match and the subdistrict championship.
Hampton head coach Diane Torson said her team has really focused on closing out matches.
“We have been working all season just finishing out games,” said Torson. “We didn’t finish at the CRC, but we were able to come back and finish out the match tonight.”
Hampton’s final stats are unofficial as VanHousen led a 49 kill attack with 20 kills, Tristin Mason added 10 and Klassen was charted with seven. Unofficially junior setter Jaime Troester had 44 set assists.
Hampton’s balance is something that Torson wants to see from her team.
“That is one of the things that we really wanted to do. We really have a lot of good hitters and we want to make sure that we put a lot of pressure on the other team,” Torson stated. “That also enables Madison to get open a little bit more. The win tonight was huge. You saw some great volleyball and for us to fight tooth and nail to the end, this was really huge for us.”
The Hawks also added seven aces seven aces with three from VanHousen as the team leader.
“At times I thought our serving was incredible and definitely better against Exeter-Milligan than it was against Meridian,” Torson added. “I thought our serving at times put a lot of pressure on them, but on the flip side, they served well too.”
EM was charted with 46 team kills as Howard led the way with 16, Hailey Luzum chipped in with nine and both Hannah Beethe and Samantha Horne had eight.
In setting Sydney Hall led the team with 42 assists.
Luzum, Howard, Beethe and Hall had 18, 16, 14 and 13 digs respectively.