Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 12, 2012

Higher seeds hold on opening night

Adam Spencer
Effingham Daily News

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.”

Windsor wins two

Windsor, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, also won both of its matches Thursday night.

In Game 1, the Blue Devils took down Altamont in straight sets, 25-22, 25-22.

In game two, Windsor downed Beecher City, 25-10, 25-7.

Jenny Bullock led the way for the Blue Devils, compiling 12 kills, nine digs, three aces and a block over both games.

Paige Woolard added two aces, 10 kills, two digs and a block, and Olivia Williamson had an ace, 21 assists and four digs.

South Central also picks up two wins

The Cougars got a solid performance from Lincoln Brasel, who notched two aces, 22 kills, two blocks and a dig while leading South Central to two victories Thursday night.

In game one, the Cougars knocked off Brownstown in three sets, 23-25, 25-12, 25-13.

Lexi Schafer had two aces, four kills and seven digs against the Bombers. Teammate Natalie Chapman added two aces, nine assists and three digs.

Bethany Oberlink had three kills and 11 digs for Brownstown

In game two, South Central only needed two sets to top Cowden-Herrick, 25-14, 25-16.

Jaci Rothe had three kills, two assists and a block for the Cougars.

Micah Jones had an ace, six kills, two blocks and two digs for Cowden-Herrick.

St. Elmo 2-0

The Eagles also notched two victories on Thursday night, defeating Brownstown and Cowden-Herrick.

St. Elmo downed the Hornets 25-13, 25-20 in game one, and beat the Bombers 25-21, 25-10 in game two.

Savannah Freezel led the way for the Eagles, notching 16 kills, two blocks, two digs and an ace for the night.

Megan Maxey added 10 kills, 3 assists, two aces and five digs.