The Columbia Lady Eagles volleyball team came out of a hard-fought game against their cross-county rival, the Waterloo Bulldogs, Sept. 12, with an 8-1 record on the season. But that final outcome was in doubt after Waterloo jumped on them for a 25-17 first-set victory.
Columbia evened the score with a narrow 25-23 second-set win, coming from behind several times to send the evening to a third set.
In that third set, Waterloo was able to move into a lead early, and held that posture most of the way. But an equally determined Columbia squad finally moved ahead in the final minutes to take the third set with the score of 25-23 once again.
After the narrow victory, Columbia head coach Kelly Landgraf noted her girls had been inconsistent, primarily due to their youth.
“We are starting a single senior, two freshmen and the rest are juniors,” she explained.
“We came out unready to play,” she said. “Waterloo surprised them with a game featuring perimeter shots. We didn’t force Waterloo to do what we wanted them to do. But we made some adjustments after the first set, and they listened and pulled together.
“It was amazing to see such a young team hand in mentally as they did. They just played tough and didn’t want to lose.”Valmeyer’s Elizabeth Chism (right) pounds the ball over the net to Red Bud defenders Breanna Hoffman (7) and Ali Ringering (3). For more photos from this match, click here.
Bulldogs coach Angela Crawford also is contending with a team of girls with much potential but lacking experience.
“At moments, we only have one senior on the floor, two sophomores, and the remainder juniors. It is tough to provide the experience at the varsity level until they feel comfortable competing at this level,” she said, adding they are working to get back some of the drive they showed early in the season so they can live up to their potential.
Across the county, the Lady Pirates of Valmeyer suffered a home loss to Red Bud Sept. 11, marking the second straight night the Valmeyer team had taken to the court.
Valmeyer found itself in a hard-fought match until the Pirates pulled away, taking the first set handily.
The Musketeers took the second set, 25-19, setting the stage for a best-of-three match.
In the closing set, Valmeyer fell behind early, and although they rallied late, they were unable to overcome the Red Bud lead, finally succumbing 25-20 in the nightcap set and losing the match.
“The girls played a lot better than the first time we saw (Red Bud), at the Marissa tournament,” said Valmeyer head coach Jenny Kohnz. “We came out and won the first game. Red Bud has a great right side offense (Kalli Hentis had 12 kills for them) that we had a hard time defending.
“Tiffani Brewer led our offense with 10 kills followed by Erica Nabers with seven kills. Our setter, Miranda Kaufmann, had a great game as well. We did a great job of adjusting our defense to their hitting. Our libero Morgan Redohl had an excellent game, leading the team in digs and serve receives.
“We need to continue to work on our offense. We are looking for our hitters to hit different positions and make sure that we are aggressive in our offense.”
Columbia plays at Red Bud, while Waterloo hosts Civic Memorial, both Thursday. Gibault, which defeated Granite City in two sets Sept. 16, will host Metro East Lutheran Sept. 18.
To view and purchase local high school volleyball photos from this season, click here.