Quasars shoot past Chargers, 3-2
OKABENA -- With one violent swing of her right arm Tuesday night, Erika Post flipped the switch. A junior hitter for Southwest Star Concept's volleyball team, Post opened Game 5 with a vicious kill, sparking a 15-6 run that gave the Quasars the g...
OKABENA -- With one violent swing of her right arm Tuesday night, Erika Post flipped the switch.
A junior hitter for Southwest Star Concept's volleyball team, Post opened Game 5 with a vicious kill, sparking a 15-6 run that gave the Quasars the game and the match over visiting Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
Post finished with 12 kills to lead SSC to a 3-2 (15-25, 25-17, 25-13, 15-25, 15-6) victory.
"That got us started," SSC senior hitter Betsy Voehl said. "It got us ready, gave us that push and got us going."
Post's kill, and the momentum swing it provided, proved crucial to an SSC team that has been incredibly streaky this season.
SSC trailed just once in Game 1 while jumping to a 13-12 lead, but W-WG responded with a 13-2 run, capped by a thundering kill from Audra Schmidt, to earn a convincing first-game victory.
SSC coach Crystal Fast was visibly frustrated. But she wasn't surprised.
"All year long we've come out slow," she said. "I don't know if there's an on-off switch, but, when they come into the gym, they need to switch it on and not shut it off until the match or practice is over."
On Saturday, in the championship match of the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton tournament, the Quasars lost their first game against Murray County Central by a lopsided margin. They trailed 10-3 in Game 2 before suddenly turning things around en route to winning the game, the match and the tournament.
On Tuesday night, the situation was the similar. And the results were the same.
The Quasars flipped the switch in Game 2, jumping out to an early 6-1 lead. They never trailed by less than three points afterward, and they cruised to a relatively easy victory.
"It isn't the first time we've done this," Post said. "We just really need to focus on starting strong and getting off to a good start instead of waiting around for them to make mistakes. We need to force errors on them."
SSC jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in the third game and cruised to a dominating 25-13 victory, capped by a hard free-ball kill by junior Maddie Collin.
The momentum didn't carry over.
A Voehl kill gave the Quasars a 6-3 lead in the fourth game, but the Chargers went on a 9-3 run to take a 12-9 lead and force Fast to call a timeout.
It didn't work.
The switch remained on "off," and the Chargers went on a 13-6 run, capped by Morganne Knakmuhs' ace block, to win the game.
"I think they play the way they're feeling, and I could tell when they came into the gym that it could be a long night because they didn't come with any fire or desire," Fast said. "We didn't play our best volleyball, by any means, but I was impressed with their heart and the way they came out in Game 5.
"I just looked at them and said, 'This is Game 5; it's to 15; it's a quick game, and you need to decide if you want this enough.'"
Post's momentum-gaining hit sparked a 4-0 run, capped by an ace block by Collin on a rocket off the hands of W-WG's Taylor Elzenga, and forced W-WG coach Natalie Ross to call a timeout.
It was too late.
The Chargers never trimmed the lead to less than four points and eventually lost for the eighth time in their past 14 matches.
"After Game 1, I looked at them and said, '(The Chargers) are here to play, and now you have to choose if you're here to play,'" Fast said. "There's only so much I can do, as a coach; the girls need to perform on the court."
"They came out in Game 2 ready to play. I thought we played extremely well in Game 3, but, in Game 4, I thought we got too relaxed. And, in volleyball, you can't get relaxed. It's a game of momentum."
Ross agreed -- especially since she's witnessed the same type of play from her team this season.
"It's happened to us a few times this year," Ross said. "We've had some crazy matches where we blast somebody out of the water, and then they blast us out of the water.
"Volleyball is such a game of momentum."
Schmidt had 13 kills, and Sara Jarmer had 28 set assists to lead W-WG (9-10-2, 3-4), which will host Ellsworth on Thursday.
Elzenga had 19 digs, four kills and an ace block, and Kassandra Jarmer added 14 digs.
Voehl had nine kills and a match-high 25 digs, and Luanna Henkels had 19 digs and a match-high 45 assists to lead SSC (12-6, 6-1), which will host Round Lake-Brewster on Thursday.
Jenna Leopold had eight kills and three aces, and Jenny Doherty added nine kills.
Post also had 18 digs and two ace blocks