The saying “It’s difficult to beat a good team three times” will be relevant come Wednesday night when Altamont and St. Anthony meet in the semifinals of the Class 1A Regionals at the Enlow Center.

In each of the past two meetings, the Bulldogs have defeated the Lady Indians convincingly. On Sept. 28, St. Anthony won 25-22, 25-14, and in the National Trail Conference Tournament semifinals, they won 25-16, 25-17.

Could the third time be a charm for the Bulldogs, or could Altamont get its revenge?

To flip the script, Lady Indians’ head coach Mindie McManaway said the area they need to work on is simple.

“Passing,” she said. “I went and watched the film, and it was passing error after passing error. If we can do our passing and keep our defense back and pass the ball up, I think we can compete.”

However, to get to Wednesday, St. Anthony had to beat Dieterich first, while Altamont had to best Neoga — both of which they were successful at doing.

The Bulldogs defeated the Movin’ Maroons 25-12, 25-9, while the Lady Indians defeated Neoga 25-12, 25-14.

Yet, even in a pair of lopsided wins, both coaches came away still hoping for a better start.

“We started a little slow,” McManaway said. “A little rough, but in the end, Ellie and Ella finally started connecting on their hits. They did OK, but they could have moved a little bit more. They were hitting into the block instead of around the block, but they pulled it off.”

Neoga took a 9-8 lead in the early stages of both sets before Altamont managed to rally off point-after-point, ultimately winning each set handily.

Ellie McManaway had another banner night, finishing with nine digs, 19 assists, and three kills. Ella Ruffner finished with eight digs, two blocks, and eight kills, and Ada Tappendorf had six digs, two blocks, and seven kills.

Also entering the scorebook was Madison Splechter (four digs), Peyton Osteen (five digs, one ace, seven assists, and one kill), Briana Hassebrock (one block and one kill), Alyvia Wills (three digs and three kills), and Grace Lemke (one block and one kill).

Meanwhile, for St. Anthony, it was the same — a slow start that ultimately led to the Bulldogs pulling away in the end.

St. Anthony trailed 7-5 in the first set before rallying off 10-straight points to take a 15-7 lead and, ultimately, winning 25-12 before dominating the second 25-9.

Anna Faber finished with two kills and 18 assists. Elizabeth Kabbes finished with four aces. Andrea Rudolphi had four kills and one block. Abbi Hatton had five kills and two blocks. Ada Rozene finished with five kills, one ace, and one block. Lucy Fearday had five kills, and Maddie Kibler had one kill and one ace.

On the opposing end, the Movin’ Maroons had one kill and eight digs from Kaitlyn Boerngen; one kill, one assist, and two digs from Emily Hall; two assists and seven digs from Alli Schmidt; two aces and four digs from Breanna Shull; one kill, five digs, and one block from Olivia Brummer, and two kills, three digs, and one block from Ruby Westendorf.

“I think they’ve improved so much,” said Dieterich co-head coach Nicole Flood of her team’s season. “I know they started very timid, and it was about mid-season when we started to find our groove. We got a few big wins, which helped boost their confidence along the way. Even the games that we did lose, we still fought very hard.”

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 217-347-7151 ext. 124 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.

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