It wasn’t real easy but the Beckman volleyball team showed the No. 6-ranked in Class 4A Wolves of Marion what it was like to lose in three sets Sept. 14 at Beckman, 25-21, 25-23, 25-19.
Class 2A’s ninth-ranked Blazers (17-4) dispatched the Wolves (15-3) with balanced scoring and teamwork. Ace serves didn’t hurt any either, as the Blazers notched seven, three in a row in the final set from Jenna Lansing, to curb any comeback Marion might have built.
Schmitt began that final game with two kills and Olivia Hogan added an ace for a 4-1 lead, but the Wolves quickly evened it and edged ahead, 6-5. Schmitt knotted it with another behind the 10-foot line kill, negated by one from Michaela Goad. Two quick Marion mistakes gave the Blazers an 8-7 lead and Lauren Osterhaus’ ace made it 9-7. That lead faded and the Blazers trailed 12-10 when Lansing got a kill to go down, then added those three aces for a 14-12 lead and forced a Marion timeout. The Blazers maintained a two or three-point advantage, getting points from blocks and Lansing and Schmitt kills to build a 23-18 margin. A Blazer net serve gave the Wolves their final point, a favor returned when they failed to get the ball back across the net in three for Blazer point 24. Osterhaus made it final with a kill.
Coach Todd Troutman added, “We knew that Marion was going to be a great challenge for us this week as they had defeated West Delaware the week before there to open WaMaC play. We came out with a great mindset and played with tremendous confidence.”
As befits a match between two ranked teams, both of the first games were much the same, though a Blazer run gave them a 12-6 lead early and they didn’t lose much of it on the way to winning the first game.
In the second it was neck-and-neck through most of the game, with ties at 3-3, 8-8, 10-10, and 12-12 before the Blazers put up three, on kills from Lansing and Schmitt and a Lansing/Pirc block. But a Kam Klas serve hit net and turned the ball over, only long enough for Pirc to get a kill down, 16-13. Lansing failed to clear net on her serve and the Wolves added an ace from libero Natalee Hartman to knot it at 16-16. Again Pirc got a kill down, matched by Van Hook. But a called lift on Marion and a Schmitt kill from behind that line put the Blazers up 19-17, forcing a Marion timeout. Two Blazer blocks fell on the wrong side and they were tied again, 19-19. Klas put down two straight kills for a 21-19 lead and it ended up being the final margin for the game when Schmitt broke another tie, 23-23, with two power kills.
“I thought we ran our offense for the match as well as we have all year long and it all started with our passing,” said Troutman. “Olivia, Kiersten and Kam were consistently getting the ball to Leah in a position where she could go to any of our hitters. I also thought that Kiersten, Kam, Jenna, Lauren and Shelby were all swinging well and stayed aggressive throughout the match. Marion got their share of blocks on the night, but our hitters kept pounding the ball and when you do that, great things happen.
“Olivia had another great night showing why she is one of the best liberos in the state. She set the tone early in game one and was digging up everything that came her way.
“Finally, we had a super-serving match and did a phenomenal job of hitting our spots with tough, aggressive serving. We were able to pull Marion out of system on numerous occasions, leading to some transition opportunities for us. This is the type of mindset we need to bring to every match from here on out because our schedule the next three weeks doesn’t get any easier.”
Individual stats for the match included: serving — Osterhaus and Wessels 10-of-10, Klas 15-of-16, Schmitt 9-of-10, Lansing 14-of-16, Hogan 12-of-14; aces – Lansing three, Klas two, Osterhaus and Hogan one; kills— Schmitt 20, Lansing eight, Osterhaus seven, Klas four, Wessels three, Pirc two, Reese Osterhaus one; blocks — Lauren Osterhaus three, Schmitt two, Lansing and Pirc one; digs — Hogan 24, Lansing 12, Wessels 11, Schmitt 10, Klas four, Lauren Osterhaus three; assists — Wessels 39, Hogan three, Schmitt one.