Charleston controlled momentum on the road against Effingham after winning a close second set, but all the momentum it gained went away at the flip of a coin.
Effingham won a coin toss prior to the start of the third set that allowed them to pick the side of the court they wanted to play on, and they picked the side they won the first set on and Charleston won the second set on.
In what turned out to be almost a mirror image of the first set, Effingham controlled the scoreboard, winning the definitive set and the game, 25-15.
Charleston head coach Susan Babers said her team lost momentum by switching sides to start the set, even though she said that shouldn't be an excuse.
“It shouldn't, that's the problem,” Babers said. “I changed the lineup going from the first game to the second game and that got us a little momentum. I would think that would've changed over.”
Charleston jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the second set, but Effingham battled back to tie it 7-7 and after that no team led by more than two points. The third set was different.
Effingham jumped out to a 14-4 lead and only allowed Charleston to come as close as six points during the set, similar to what happened in the first set.
In the first set, Effingham took a 7-3 lead, eventually finishing off a 25-15 win. Babers said her team wasn't ready to play.
“We didn't come off the bus,” Babers said. “We were very lackadaisical. We were standing, not moving.”
Meanwhile, Effingham and its powerful hitters started the game aggressively – a trend that continued throughout the three sets.
“Our passing game came through and that made our hitting look really tough,” Effingham head coach Laurie Bohnhoff said.
Babers said Effingham was more aggressive than her team. She said Charleston took a passive approach on offense, only trying to get the ball over the net.
Charleston's approach helped Effingham's power hitters to have big games against a small Charleston lineup, as Effingham avoided Charleston's two tallest players – Paris Babers and Lauren Nadler.
“I thought we kind of went outside a ton and took advantage of their size,” Bohnhoff said. “They have two big kids. We just quit hitting toward them and hit to their smaller blockers.”
Three of Effingham's players finished with double-digit kills. Bethany Donaldson finished with 13 kills, Chandler Ramey had 12 and Stephanie Robb had 10.
Charleston was the team it is supposed to be in the second set, Babers said, and was a shell of itself in the two other sets. Babers said her team didn't play up to its potential Thursday, knowing that it could be more competitive against Effingham.
“Charleston came out hitting the ball, making our defense look pretty bad,” Bohnhoff said of the second set. “They played a different game in game two.”
It didn't matter, though, as Effingham took the final set by 10 points on what was the friendlier side of the court Thursday night. Effingham improves to 5-4 this season and 1-0 in the Apollo Conference.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charleston	15 25 15Effingham	25 23 25
Effingham: Mitchell (3 digs), Donaldson (5 digs, 13 kills, 2 blocks), Beals (1 dig, 3 kills), Zerrusen (5 digs, 4 assists, 4 kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks), Ramey (4 digs, 2 assists, 12 kills, 2 aces), Totten (12 digs, 27 assists, 3 aces, 1 block), Robb (1 assist, 10 kills, 2 blocks), Fred (11 digs, 1 assist)