BROOKVILLE – The Versailles Tigers are no strangers to postseason play – they are perennially making deep tournament runs in the state volleyball tournament.
But even with four seniors on the roster, the team seemed a little disjointed in its opening set against Bethel on Monday. The Bees came into the match with a first round win over Brookville – so they had some momentum walking onto the court. The Tigers were clearly the better team in the first set, but it took that first set to get the opening round of tournament jitters out of the way and get into a strong tournament groove.
The Tigers got that first set out of the way 25-16 and went on to dominate the second set with strong front line play – 25-9. And even with liberal substitutions in the last set, the Tigers dispatched the Bees 25-12.
Coach Kenzie Bruggeman kept her team focused and even when Bethel quickly reeled off three quick points in the opening set, Versailles did not panic. The Tigers turned around and went on a 7-0 run of their own to put up an advantage that they would not relinquish.
It was interesting to note that even this late in the season the Lady Tiger coach still was giving her players pointers on technique throughout the match. When your sights are on a title, every little detail that keeps you from perfection can become critical.
In that first set Bethel did take a timeout to try and stop Tiger momentum and was able make up a little ground after the timeout. And both teams had a point about two-thirds through the set where they had poor serves – both teams seemed like they were floundering. Versailles had two bad serves in row. But the Bees couldn’t make up any ground as they had three bad serves when they could have made up ground. But the Tigers ground down the Bees to get the critical first set and gain the momentum.
Jitters out of the way, the Tigers leapt upon the Bees in the second and third sets. Their front line play was devastating.
Ellen Peters got the Tigers started out of the gate in the second set with her serves. The Bees were down 4-0 early. The Tiger front line was sending sizzling spikes across the net that Bethel just could not handle. The Bethel coach took a timeout when it was 18-6, but it had no effect as Versailles steamrolled the Bees 25-9.
In the last set Coach Bruggeman rewarded some of her bench with some court time in the tournament. But to their credit, the pace of the set remained the same. A lot of teams would experience a steep drop off with their bench in the game but not the Tigers with their depth. At one point the Tigers were up 14-3. They had a little drop off at that point and let Bethel make a little run, but the Tigers recomposed themselves and went on a run of their own to put away the Bees 25-12.
“It was hard to come in on a Monday and be focused right off the bat,” Coach Bruggeman said. “As the match went on we started clicking a little more. It took a little longer in that first game than what I would have liked, but once we started playing – we played well. We had an advantage at the net, and we took advantage of that. We had a quick, fast offense, and we served aggressively. We wanted to take advantage of all the free balls that we had. Kami Ording had a good night; she had a lot of kills for us.”