Effingham Daily News
After a first set where the whole team stepped up to win, St. Anthony's second-set efforts turned into a one-woman show at the Class 2A Newton Sectional semifinals.
St. Anthony went on a 16-0 run in the second to go up 20-4 and take complete control against Robinson.
The run wasn't the most impressive part, however, as libero Rachel Schultz had a 15-point service run and racked up 10 aces in the process.
It spurred the Bulldogs on in the second as St. Anthony (32-6) won 25-13, 25-12 over Robinson (22-8) and advanced to the sectional title.
"I was just feeling it tonight, I wanted to go out there and win," Schutlz said. "I've served a lot before, but with jump serving, that's my first time on a big roll. Not like that, not with 10 aces, I haven't."
It was surprising to both player and coach, as Kristie Bailey didn't expect her junior libero to tally 10 second-set aces.
"She hasn't racked up aces like that in a long time," she said. "She's got a funny serve and it kind of does a little curve at the end."
Things got a bit rocky after the run ended, as made it 20-4 with a kill by Karie Bopp. From there, Robinson outscored St. Anthony 7-5, but it was far too late.
The beginning of the game was bit rocky as well with Robinson jumping out to an early lead. Megan Nuxoll's efforts drew the score to a tie. With the score tied at 8-8, the Bulldogs turned setter Haylee Mathis loose at the net.
It immediately paid off, as Mathis hit four huge kills to give them the lead, and St. Anthony would score 15 of the next 16 points.
Bailey attributed the slow start to sectional jitters.
"We played a little jacked up at the beginning, we were hitting some balls way out of bounds, to be expected at the sectional," she said. "Then Megan started on a roll and Haylee took it away."
Mathis had seven kills in the first set and didn't need to head back to the net often in the second as Schultz went off from the service line. She finished eight kills.
Megan Nuxoll had seven kills and led the team with nine digs. Jenna Woltman had nine assists. Schmidt had three aces, while Lauren Wendt, Maggie Mumm and Nuxoll each had one block.
Now, the Bulldogs turn their attention to Carlinville. The Cavaliers downed Edwardsville Metro-East Lutheran 25-12, 34-32 in a marathon second-set.
For Schultz, it's clear what the goals are and what it'll take to achieve them.
"We want to make it to state," she said. "If we play as hard as we did tonight, then we can get there. Just keep working hard."
The two teams are similar, according to Bailey.
"They play a lot like us, they run the three ball," Bailey said. "They have a lot of power, so it's going to come down to serving and defense."
The sectional final begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Newton High School.
Robinson 13 12
St. Anthony 25 25
St. Anthony: Wortman (3 digs); Mathis (8 kills, 4 digs, 14 assists); Woltman (2 digs, 9 assists); Wendt (5 kills, 1 block); Braunecker (2 kills, 3 digs); Mumm (1 ace, 1 dig, 1 assist, 1 block); Nuxoll (1 ace, 7 kills, 9 digs, 1 block); Schultz (10 aces, 1 kills, 8 digs, 1 assist); Schmidt (3 aces, 3 kills, 2 digs, 2 assists)