In the post-season, an off night can spell disaster. Just ask the Beckman volleyball team, victims of a fired-up Hudson crew, Oct. 26.
Hudson won 3-1, 25-21, 24-26, 25-21, 25-17.
The Pirates took advantage of Blazer errors and used their big hitter, Ashlynn Kuhn, who tallied 23 kills, for the win. Neither team could build much of an advantage in any of the games, save the second one.
In the first, the Blazers held a 4-2 lead but saw it disappear with aces from Kuhn for a 5-5 tie. From then on, it was a point here, one there until the Pirates used a tip kill from Sara Hansen and miscues from Olivia Hogan and Kylee Rueber for a 19-16 lead. When Hudson’s Kuhn hit long, it was 19-17, but Jadyn Welling gave it back with a serve that went long, a feat matched by Hudson’s Anna Staebell, 20-18. A Lauren Osterhaus kill put the Blazers at 21-19 but when she was called in the net and Kiersten Schmitt missed, it was 23-19. Kuhn’s kill got them to 24 before Kam Klas tipped it over and Kuhn went long, 24-21. But an out-of-bounds kill attempt handed the Pirates the first game.
Game two saw the Blazers roar back, looking like the team most fans expected to see on the floor. They built a 9-5 lead on Jenna Lansing’s kill and block around two Pirate mishits. That grew to 16-10, then 20-14. Schmitt’s tip and Rueber’s kill made it 23-16 but suddenly, the Blazers found the error side again, called for four hits, a Rueber long ball, a Lansing in-the-net, before Kuhn served an ace and both Kylee Sallee and Macey McKenna put the ball down to make it 23-23. A called four hits on the Pirates gave the Blazers point 24, but it was matched by an out-of-bounds off Klas to tie at 24-24. Rueber pounded one to the floor for point 25 and an out-of-bounds off Pirate Faith Hoffman sealed the win and evened the match for the Blazers.
Game three was another back-and-forth battle, with the Blazers up 14-12 on Schmitt’s kill, one of her 22 on the night. Kuhn matched it and set off a series of six straight Pirate points, four of them Blazer errors, for an 18-14 lead. The Blazers cut it to three, three times, before Kuhn’s kill made it 22-18. Mis-hits from the Blazers gave the Pirates points 23 and 24. Kuhn was called for a double hit, Schmitt got a kill and Kuhn went long to put the lead back to three, 24-21, but when Jami Kruse served into the net, it was Hudson’s game.
In game four, the Blazers found themselves down 12-6 early before Staebell served long and Schmitt put down a kill, 12-8. Makayla Koelker returned the serving favor but Schmitt got one to go down, 13-9. Kruse was called in the net on a kill attempt before Schmitt got a block, 14-10. It was basically as close as they would get, when Hudson went on a five-point run to lead 24-15, and eventually got the final point on another Blazer error.
“We came into the match knowing what a good team they were and what a challenge it would be for us to win,” said coach Todd Troutman. “The match was exactly what we thought it would be, a tough point by point battle between two very good teams that would be determined by who would make the fewest errors.
“I thought the difference in the match was that they were able to get us out of system more than we were able to get them out and every time we were in a position to make a run, we shot ourselves in the foot with an unforced error. We bailed them out with serving errors, hitting errors and blocking errors at some very inopportune moments.
“Hudson made the plays more consistently and was the better team that night.”
Individual stats: serving — Hogan 12-of-12, Schmitt 10-of-10, Koelker 15-of-16, Osterhaus 14-of-15, Nell McDermott 14-of-17, Welling 12-of-15 (team 77-of-85 for 90.6%); kills — Schmitt 22, Klas eight, Rueber seven, Lansing six, Kruse and Osterhaus four, (team 26 errors, 51 kills); aces--Hogan one; digs — Hogan 37, McDermott 24, Welling 18, Koelker 15, Schmitt 13, Osterhaus and Kruse three, Klas one; blocks — Schmitt, Osterhaus and Rueber three, Klas and Lansing two, Kruse one; assists — Koelker 26, Schmitt 20, Hogan two, McDermott, Lansing and Welling one.