RYAN CZACHORSKI Daily News
Effingham Daily News
---- — Neoga's backs were against the wall for the first berth into the National Trail Conference tournament gold flight.
The Indians trailed Altamont 19-14 in the third set when they took over service when Altamont served it into the net.
From there, Kellie Kastl took over, keying a 9-0 service run and 10-0 run overall to put Neoga up 24-19. While Altamont made it 24-21, Taylor Gresens ended the game with a kill and put Neoga into the Gold Flight.
Neoga fell to the top seeds (Stew-Stras, St. Anthony, Altamont) throughout the regular season, but took out Altamont to win Pool C 20-25, 25-11, 25-21.
"I thought as whole, this was our best effort as a team," said Neoga coach Reeni Letizia. "This was a big game for them. Finally, putting it all together for themselves. They didn't panic at any point of the game, and that was the key to getting a win."
While Altamont controlled play early, coach Tim Dooling never felt his team found its rhythm.
"We never got in sync the whole night," he said. "We were playing as hard as we could play and not playing well."
After the first-set loss, Neoga got going on a number of errors by Altamont and big play at the net by Courtney Croy, who would score the last two points of the set on a block and a kill.
Altamont seized momentum in the second set early, taking an 8-7 lead and pushing it out to 19-14 before the big rally. During the run, Jillian Deters and Gresens each had two points, while Kastl had an ace.
Croy had 10 kills and seven blocks, Deters had nine kills and four digs, Gresens had two aces, Demmie Long tallied 24 assists and Olivia Ott added six kills and 14 digs of her own.
Now, the fourth-seeded Indians move on to the gold flight with Stew-Stras and St. Anthony tonight, playing Stew-Stras at 5 p.m. and St. Anthony at 6 p.m. at the Enlow Center.
"(We need to be) more efficient on our movements," Letizia said. "They improved from last game to this game, they've improved 100 percent on the volleyball thought process."
The third-seed Indians go on to the silver flight, facing off with Windsor at 1 p.m. and South Central at 2 p.m.
In other Pool C action, Beecher City downed Dieterich 25-17, 27-25 to advance to the bronze flight. Dieterich's conference tournament is now over after going 0-3 in Pool C.
Kacie Hilt had 14 assists for the Eagles, while Kirby Herrman had six kills. Leah Kelly and Hilt eahc had three aces as well.
Mindy Bohnhoff had 13 assists and four aces for Dieterich, Mallorie Vahling had nine digs, Jodi Zacha tallied seven kills and Madison Boerngen had four kills and three blocks.
Bulldogs take pool BWith some changes to the offense in time for the NTC tournament, St. Anthony had little resistance sweeping Pool B play Friday night.
St. Anthony won its opener 25-13, 25-10 against Cowden-Herrick and downed fifth-seed South Central 25-9, 25-10 to advance to the gold flight.
With Hayley Mathis moving up to the net at times and the service game working without a hitch, coach Kristie Bailey had high praise for her Bulldogs.
"I thought as whole, this was our best effort as a team," she said. "We played pretty flawless. They were on the other end of the best volleyball we've played all year."
Mathis topped the team with seven kills in both games, also racking up 20 assists against Cowden-Herrick and 16 against South Central.
Bailey also credited the play of her libero, Rachel Schultz, for keying the team's service game.
"Rachel Schultz was on fire all night," Bailey said. "They couldn't stop any of our hitters once we got on a roll."
In the night's other game, South Central downed Cowden-Herrick 25-10, 25-16 to advance to the sliver flight.
Maria Brasel had 11 assists and Lincoln Brasel had 10 kills in the win. South Central plays Altamont at 2 p.m. and Windsor at 3 p.m.
Cowden-Herrick's Haven Lorton tallied five kills across two games, while Jensyn Morrison had five kills, an ace and a block.
The Hornets play in the bronze flight, taking on Beecher City at 11 a.m. and St. Elmo/Brownstown at 12 p.m.
Comets cruise in Pool AStew-Stras' night was delayed by two three-set affairs, but the Comets won both their matches and punched their ticket to the gold flight.
The top-seeded Comets took care of Windsor in their first NTC tournament match 25-14, 25-20, and then downed St. Elmo/Brownstown 25-23, 25-19.
"In the first game (against St. Elmo), we were just killing ourselves," said Stew-Stras coach Ronda Schlechte. "We questioned everything we did before we did it, so we were late for everything.
"(But) we were able to swing hard and put the ball down, instead of paying it safe."
Now, the Stew-Stras Comets enter their final two conference tournament matches with wins over both St. Anthony and Neoga in their pockets.
Stew-Stras plays Neoga at 5 p.m. and then faces St. Anthony at 7 p.m. tonight at the Enlow Center.
"It's going to be a tough day in general," Schlechte said. "I talked to the girls after the games were over with, that we'll have to come in with a whole different mindset for tomorrow."
Windsor battled the St. Elmo/Brownstown Eagles in the third game at the Enlow Center, and the Blue Devils held on for a big 23-25, 25-17, 26-24 victory to advance to silver flight play.
Statistics from the three Pool A games were not made available as of press time due to the two long matches.
The Blue Devils face Altamont at 1 p.m. and South Central at 3 p.m. St. Elmo/Brownstown moves to the bronze flight, taking on Beecher City at 10 a.m. and Cowden-Herrick at 12 p.m.
Stew-Stras 25 25
Windsor 14 20
St. Elmo/Brownstown 25 17 24
Windsor 23 25 26
Stew-Stras 25 25
St. Elmo/Brownstown 23 19
St. Anthony 25 25
Cowden-Herrick 13 10
St. Anthony: Doedtman (1 kill); Esker (1 ace); Wortman (1 dig); Mathis (7 kills, 1 block, 1 ace, 20 blocks); Moore (1 kill); Woltman (8 assists); Wendt (5 kills); Braunecker (6 kills, 1 block, 3 aces); Mumm (6 kills); Nuxoll (2 kills, 4 aces); Schultz (4 digs); Rincker (1 dig)
South Central 25 25
Cowden-Herrick 10 16
South Central: M. Brasel (11 assists, 1 dig, 3 aces); L. Brasel (10 kills); Chapman (5 kills, 6 assists); Young (4 digs, 2 aces); Schaal (3 assists); Potter (2 kills); Sill (2 kills); Smith (2 kills, 1 dig); Garrett (1 kill)
Combined C-H stats: A. Heiserman (2 kills, 2 aces); Lorton (5 kills, 1 ace); J. Morrison (5 kills, 1 ace, 1 block); Kresin (2 kills); E. Wehrle (1 kill); Robison (1 ace)
South Central 9 10
St. Anthony 25 25
South Central: L. Brasel (4 kills, 1 block); Garrett (2 kills); Chapman (1 kill, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 dig); Smith (1 kill, 1 block, 2 digs); M. Brasel (4 assists, 4 digs); Young (4 digs); Monical (1 dig); Potter (1 kill)
St. Anthony: Wortman (2 digs); Mathis (7 kills, 2 blocks, 7 digs, 16 assists); Woltman (3 digs, 5 assists); Wendt (6 kills, 3 blocks 2 digs); Braunecker (7 kills, 1 block, 2 digs, 1 ace); Mumm (1 ace); Nuxoll (4 kills, 11 digs, 2 aces); Schultz (6 digs, 3 aces); Schmidt (1 kill)
POOL CNeoga 20 25 25
Altamont 25 11 21
Neoga: Kastl (1 kill, 9 digs, 1 ace); Ott (6 kills, 14 digs); Croy (10 kills, 1 dig, 7 blocks); Deters (9 kills, 4 digs, 2 blocks); long (24 assists); Harshman (14 digs); Gresens (3 kills, 3 digs, 1 block, 2 aces); Partlow (1 dig); Easton (2 digs)
Dieterich 17 25
Beecher City 25 27
Dieterich: Bohnhoff (4 aces, 3 digs, 13 assists); Winters (1 ace, 3 digs, 2 kills); Zacha (1 ace, 4 digs, 7 kills, 1 assist); Flach (2 digs, 1 kill); F. Boerngen (1 dig, 3 assists); Thoele (4 digs, 1 kill); M. Vahling (2 aces, 9 digs, 1 kill, 1 assist); M. Boerngen (2 aces, 1 digs, 4 kills, 3 blocks); S. Vahling (2 aces, 1 dig, 4 kills, 3 blocks)
Beecher City: Haslett (4 digs); Sloan (1 ace, 5 kills, 5 digs); Johnson (1 ace, 2 kills, 3 digs); Hilt (3 aces, 14 assists, 5 digs); Herrmann (1 ace, 6 kills, 5 digs); Buzzard (3 kills, 9 digs); Kelly (3 aces, 3 digs); Reed (2 digs)