STRASBURG – The Stew-Stras volleyball team played stiffer competition against Altamont on Thursday than it had all season, said head coach Ronda Schlechte, but they did so unsuccessfully by losing in two sets.
With the lead in the second set, Stew-Stras committed a number of errors on its hits to allow Altamont to come back from an 19-17 deficit.
Altamont scored eight consecutive points to win the second set, but Schlechte said her team’s impatience at the net let Altamont back into the game and clinch a 25-22, 25-19 win.
“The girls weren’t waiting,” Schlechte said. “They were rushing in and charging the ball. We have a tendency to do that when we’re a little overly anxious.”
With the lead, Stew-Stras players were sending spikes long over Altamont’s taller front line. The errors cost the team the second set.
Stew-Stras led the second set early after breaking Altamont’s serve to start the game. Stew-Stras jumped out to a 9-5 lead, but once Altamont got its serve back they came back to lead 11-10.
Schlechte said her team struggles with serve-receive often and it showed in the first set, too, as Altamont’s service points led them to a 25-22 win.
Having given up the lead, 11-10, in the second set, Stew-Stras senior Baylee Quast served the team back into the game, giving her team a 14-11 lead. Quast had two aces in the game.
Altamont’s height advantage showed, though, as they shrank the lead. Schlechte said Altamont’s height gave her players trouble in the middle of the court.
In a 15-15 tie, neither team led by more than two points until Altamont went on its run of eight consecutive points to end the set and win the match, 25-19.
“We had to battle for every point,” Altamont head coach Tim Dooling said. “Stew-Stras is really good and we know they are.”
The consensus between the two coaches was that Altamont’s passing was better, which Dooling said was key for things to go well for his team.
Schlechte said her team’s passing in game one really hurt it, as Altamont burst out to a 6-0 lead in the set and held on for a three-point win.
“We made some silly mistakes that cost us several points,” Schlechte said. “Giving them a big lead in game one is our signature and I hate that.”
Spikes by junior Kendall Knop and senior Lindsay Burton helped keep Stew-Stras in the first game, coming within one point of tying the game, trailing 17-16, but the team never tied nor led in the set.
Schlechte said Altamont was probably the most competitive team Stew-Stras has played so far this season and she said she would’ve liked to see a better result.
“We knew tonight was going to be a big game for us,” Schlechte said. “I would’ve hoped we’d play a little better.”
Next, Stew-Stras will be in the Crossroads Classic at Effingham. Stew-Stras is in Pool F of the 24-team tournament and will play Champaign Centennial at 6 p.m. and Breese Central at 7 p.m. on today.
Altamont hosts South Central Monday night.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or email@example.com.
Altamont 25 25
Stew-Stras 22 19
Stew-Stras: Schlechte (7 kills, 8 assists, 8 digs, 1 block), Quast (2 aces, 2 kills, 14 assists, 4 digs, 1 block), Knop (8 kills, 1 assist, 6 digs, 1 block), Tabbert (5 kills, 11 digs), Burton (1 ace, 4 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks), Stremming (1 kill, 1 block), Locke (5 digs)
Altamont: Ledbetter (1 kill, 1 ace, 1 block), White (6 kills), Wendling (14 assists, 1 kill), Kopplin (4 kills), M Ohnesorge (1 ace), Alwardt (5 kills)