Up 24-21 in the decisive third set, Brittany Beals unleashed a monster spike to the floor for what looked to be the game-winning point against Mt. Zion.
However, Beals hit the net on the way down, being called for a violation and giving Mt. Zion the point.
Things spiraled out of control from there. Effingham committed errors on three of the next four points, all of which went to Mt. Zion, and the Braves took the set and escaped with a 25-21, 20-25, 26-24 win over Effingham Tuesday.
While the errors late were costly, coach Laurie Bohnhoff said it never should have come down to that with some consistency on the service line.
“We were playing better than them and should’ve been up eight or 10 points at that point, instead we were up four,” she said. “We outplayed them up until that last four points by a lot of points, but we couldn’t serve inbounds and sustain any kind of roll.
“I thought that was the difference, the missed serves in the third games, more than the letdown for the last five points.”
After the Beals violation, Katie Roberts hit a spike into the post, Mt. Zion’s Allie Roberts uncorked an ace, then Effingham’s Chandler Ramey was called for a carry and Beals’ game-tying spike attempt went into the net, over and out to give the Braves the win.
Effingham led for the entire third set up until the 24-24 tie, but couldn’t hold on.
“If you’re trying to serve aggressive, you’ll take your lumps, but it was more that we were trying to serve inbounds and didn’t do it,” Bohnhoff said. “I’d hate to know how many serves we missed in that third game.”
The Flaming Hearts came out firing, opening up a 13-7 first-set lead over Mt. Zion. But the Braves came back, behind a strong offensive effort from Kelsey McAtee and finally took a 19-18 lead.