VERSAILLES – Versailles withstood a late rally by Celina to sweep the Bulldogs in three sets, 25-14, 25-15, 29-27 on Monday night in Versailles.
Despite winning the match in just three sets, Versailles volleyball coach Kenzie Bruggeman was disappointed in her team’s play and what she perceived as a lack of energy from the Lady Tigers.
“I think my girls just thought they had it in the bag and that Celina wasn’t going to try to take a set from us or come back with a little bit of fire,” Versailles’ first-year head coach said. “You could tell the first game we had zero energy so it was just constantly trying to pull that out of them. We made it, I guess.”
Versailles was in control throughout the first set and never trailed in that game. Celina led 1-0 and 2-1 early in the second set, but Versailles quickly took over the lead and cruised to a 25-15 victory to lead the best-of-five match two sets to none.
“Our blocking was very strong all game,” Bruggeman said. “I don’t think our hitting was. We just weren’t connecting. We weren’t finishing the plays. We had a lot of free ball opportunities. I really don’t feel like our offense the whole night really clicked or got going. It was more of our serving aggressive and our blocking, I think, is what was giving us our momentum.”
Versailles seemed to be in complete control as the third set started with Kami McEldowney’s serving helping the Tigers build a 6-0 advantage. The Tigers were on the verge of winning the third set at 23-18 when the Bulldogs started to make a strong final push.
Celina scored four consecutive points to make it 23-22 and then fought off a match point opportunity by Versailles to tie the set at 24-24. The Bulldogs survived three more match point chances by the Tigers before Versailles closed out the match with a 29-27 victory.
“I feel like they just assumed that they were going to be able to take the third set like the first and the second set,” Bruggeman said. “I just see it as a mental lapse, and Celina saw that it was a window of opportunity so they picked themselves up and they were starting to gain a little bit of momentum.”
Danielle Winner led Versailles with 10 kills in the match while Elizabeth Ording had seven and Mallory Marshal added five. Kami McEldowney, Kami Ording and Kate Stammen each had two aces.
Ellen Peters led the Tigers with seven assists, and Bailey Huffman had six. Taylor Tyo had a team-high four blocks while Danielle Winner and Lindsey Winner both had three. Kami McEldowney had 11 digs to lead Versailles while Cassie Peters had 10 digs.