Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

October 12, 2012

Higher seeds hold on opening night

EFFINGHAM — After cruising to a straight-set victory over Beecher City in the opening game of the 2012 National Trail Conference volleyball tournament, third-seeded Stew-Stras struggled against Altamont.

The Comets topped Beecher City in straight sets, 25-7, 25-14, behind a strong performance from Mariah Tabbert.

Tabbert had four aces, two kills, a dig and two blocks in the first game.

Teammate Kendall Knop added three aces, four kills and three digs in the victory.

But, in their match against Altamont, things were a bit tougher for the Comets.

Stew-Stras still took the match in straight sets, but Altamont made the Comets work for their 25-22, 25-21 victory.

Knop led the way for the Comets in the second match, piling up two aces, 10 kills, 14 assists and a block.

Teammate Brittani Tabbert added three aces, three kills and nine digs.

Lauren White set the tone for the Indians, notching eight kills, two aces, four digs and four blocks in the loss.

Stew-Stras coach Ronda Schlechte said she’s proud of the way her team battled, but acknowledged that they’ll have to do better today and Saturday to win the tournament.

“We played well enough to win,” she said. “But tomorrow they’re going to have to come out a little harder, ready to fight a little bit more.”

She added that the Comets need to be a little more prepared defensively.

“We need to read the offense on the other side better so that we can be ready for defense,” she said.

Tonight, the Comets will take on Windsor. The Blue Devils are the second-highest ranked team in Pool B. Stew-Stras, the No. 2 overall seed, sits atop the pool.

“It will be a good fight,” Schlechte said of tonight’s game. “We’ve played (Windsor) twice this year and we’ve gotten them both times, but that doesn’t always mean the third time is going to be a charm.”

Schlechte said she would love to see her team perform up to its potential and win the tournament championship on Saturday.

“It would be very nice,” she said. “We have a good team and we have a good opportunity. It’s just a matter of getting them all playing on top of their games on the same night.”

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