TEUTOPOLIS — Cisne’s Chynna Byars loomed over the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes all night, whether at the net or on the service line.
Standing at more than six feet tall and the biggest player on the court, the Runnin’ Lions ran their offense almost exclusively through Byars to great success.
But quality defense by the Wooden Shoes and some timely adjustments by coach Jessica Schackmann led Teutopolis to a 25-20, 14-25, 25-22 win.
The Shoes went to three blockers at the net in front of Byars down the stretch in the third, putting a burden on the Teutopolis defense that they’d shoulder well.
“I’ve never seen a triple block,” Schackmann said while laughing.
Teutopolis trailed 13-10 in the final set. But the Shoes took control on an 8-0 run with Byars on the bench for defensive reasons, as Julie Wente keyed up a big service run and the Runnin’ Lions struggled offensively and at the net without Byars.
Byars came back in and helped cut a five-point lead down to one at 23-22. But Katelyn Ruholl had a block as part of the triple block for the point, and Lucy Niemerg ended the game with an ace.
A weekend trip to Breese Central’s gave the Shoes some insight to the process of winning, Schackmann said.
“They watched other teams and how they work, how they come together as a team and really applied it,” she said.
Teutopolis and Cisne played a back-and-forth first set with the lead changing hands seven times. It went to Teutopolis last up 20-19, and a combination of errors put Teutopolis up 23-20, when Wente and Michelle Schmidt had back-to-back kills to end it.
The teams were close again in the second set, when Byars had a kill to put the Runnin’ Lions up 14-13 and sending her back to the service line.
Cisne scored the next 10 points for an 11-0 run without Byars at the net, and easily took the second set 25-14.
Schackmann stressed the importance of not letting that happen in the third, and it was Wente’s service run that swung the third set.
“That’s exactly what we needed to do,” she said. “We can’t give her 10 serves. They took it to heart, made the change, and they got it done.”
The blocking was a key point for Teutopolis, as they tallied 12 blocks a team. Kayla Kroeger led the team with four, while Michelle Schmidt had three of her own.
Lucy Niemerg topped T-Town with six kills and also tallied five digs, Julie Wente had a team-high eight digs and two aces while Ruholl had 10 assists.
Teutopolis hosts Pana tonight as they prep for regionals next week.
Cisne 20 25 22
Teutopolis 25 14 25
Teutopolis: Schmidt (3 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace); A. Hoene (2 kills, 2 blocks, 1 assist); Kroeger (1 kill, 4 blocks, 1 assist); Ruholl (1 block, 10 assists); Niemerg (6 kills, 1 block, 5 digs, 1 ace); Wente (4 kills, 1 block, 8 digs, 2 aces); Westjohn (6 digs, 2 aces, 1 assist); Ludwig (4 digs)