SETH WHITEHEAD For the Daily News
Effingham Daily News
---- — St. Anthony coach Kristie Bailey did not mince words when talking about her team’s play Thursday against rival Teutopolis.
“We were not motivated or interested at all in playing volleyball this evening,” Bailey said. “We were coming off a big win against Altamont (Tuesday), but we had a half day of school today, and they didn’t come mentally prepared for T-Town.”
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, you’d never guess it by the final score.
Despite some lackluster moments, St. Anthony (21-4) kept rolling along with a 25-17, 25-17 sweep.
The Bulldogs got off to quick starts in both games — jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and a 10-3 lead in the second set — only to watch the scrappy Lady Shoes battle back both times.
St. Anthony closed out both sets strong, however, turning a pair of games that seemed destined to come down to the wire into comfortable eight-point victories.
“Fortunately we had some (good) serves and ripped off a few points,” Bailey said. “Then we were able to get back on top and stay on top.”
T-Town enjoyed its only lead of the night, 12-11, after a St. Anthony hitting error in the first game, but the Bulldogs closed out the set on a 13-5 jag with the help of eight Lady Shoes errors and three kills from middle hitter Lauren Wendt.
Wendt got the Bulldogs going early with a pair of stuff blocks and had a strong all-around game with four kills, two blocks and five straight service points to close out the match.
“Lauren gives me 100 percent all the time,” Bailey said. “She’s excited all the time. Everyday is like her first day playing volleyball. She’s wonderful.
“She’s a delight to have on the team and hopefully she’ll be going on to play some place else (in college).”
The Bulldogs pulled away in similar fashion in the second game after T-Town’s Michele Schmidt evened the game at 11 with a stuff block.
Bailey called a timeout to try to slow down the Lady Shoes’ 8-1 run, and the Bulldogs responded, as a Lauren Schmidt kill out of the timeout put St. Anthony back in front.
The Bulldogs never looked back, closing the set and match on a 14-6 run.
Outside hitter Megan Nuxoll got going a bit with two kills down the stretch, and errors hurt T-Town throughout the second game, as the Lady Shoes finished with 10 errors overall, including seven hitting errors.
Haylee Mathis got St. Anthony’s offense going late with sets to the right side and the senior finished with 13 assists. She also led the team with eight digs. Nuxoll tied for team-high honors with four kills, while Schmidt had three.
The Bulldogs finished with just 17 kills on the night, however, thanks in large part to T-Town’s defense. But they were able to make up for it by committing just seven service errors and excelling on serve receive.
“Our serve receive was good,” Bailey said. “We were able to work the ball. But my outside got frustrated tonight because they were digging them.
“They played good defensively against us. T-Town’s always going to be ready defensively. They didn’t have a lot of (size) in the front row, but they played hard and made us play the way we played. You have to give them credit for that.”
Despite the win, Bailey is hoping her team will bring a better effort next time out against Stewardson-Strasburg. The Bulldogs will host the Comets in a huge NTC matchup on Tuesday. St. Anthony is 7-0 in conference while Stew-Stras is 7-1.
“We just played, I don’t want to say bad, but we didn’t play like us,” Bailey said. “We were not motivated coming out, we weren’t aggressive and then we just got down. That’s not like my team at all.”
Teutopolis coach Jessica Schaackmann was not available for comment following the game, and statistics were not made available as of press time.
St. Anthony 25 25
Teutopolis 17 17
St. Anthony — Wortman (3 digs), Mathis (1 kill, 8 digs, 13 assists, 1 block), Wente (1 ace, 4 kills, 2 blocks), Braunecker (3 kills, 1 dig), Mumm (2 kills, 6 digs, 3 assists, 2 blocks), Nuxoll (4 kills, 3 digs), Schultz 3 digs), Schmidt 1 ace, 3 kills, 2 digs, 1 assist).
T-Town — N/A.
JV — T-Town won 25-23, 25-23