Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Wildcats open tournament with win over Blue Jays

By Robb Hemmelgarn
Photo by Nick Wenning/The Daily Standard

Minster's Lilly Pelletier (11) goes up for a spike over Delphos St. John's Abby Bonifas (14) during Tuesday's Division IV sectional tournament game at Wildcat Gymnasium in Minster. Pelletier had six kills in the four-set victory.

MINSTER - It took a few kick starts to get things going last night, but once the Minster Wildcats finally started rolling, they were untouchable as they defeated the Delphos St. John's Blue Jays in the opening round of the Division IV tournament in Minster.
The Wildcats dropped the opening set 22-25, before dominating the last three sets by finals of 25-14, 25-6 and 25-11 to claim victory.
With the victory, the Wildcats improved to 13-10 overall and they will return to action on Thursday in New Bremen as they look to unseat the defending state champion Cardinals in the sectional championship.
The opening contest teetered back and forth in the beginning as the two squads exchanged punches through the first nine points before the Blue Jays took a 10-9 advantage following a kill from sophomore Melanie Koenig. The hit seemingly sparked the Blue Jays, as they took advantage of several Minster errors to eventually build a 15-9 lead. The visitors kept their distance from the Wildcats the rest of the way, and although the Orange and Black pulled as close as two points, the Blue Jays soon pulled out the three-point triumph in the opening set.
"We opened with nine errors in the first game. I think we came out and tried to play safe instead of focusing on what we practice day in and day out," Wildcat head coach Cami Garman said. "St. John's came right at us and continued to attack, preventing us from getting anything going."
The Wildcats took a 5-4 lead in set two when senior Lilly Pelletier ricocheted a kill off of a St. John's defender's face, and from there the home team never looked back. Sophomore Ivy Wolf put the game on ice midway through when she took the serve and dished up five straight points, pushing Minster's advantage to 20-11. From there, Garman's squad cruised to the 25-14 victory to even the match at 1-apiece. With the momentum obviously tilted in the Wildcats' favor, Minster had zero trouble in the third set thanks to suffocating serves by Ivy Wolf as well as strong net play from junior Averi Wolf. Ivy Wolf's first ace gave her team a 2-1 edge and by the time she finished, Minster had built a 17-2 cushion en route to a 25-6 victory.
"We found a couple of extra points when we needed them in the second game, but we still seemed to struggle gaining momentum," Garman said. "That all seemed to shift though once Ivy started serving in set three and that really set the tone for the rest of the match."
The outcome for the remainder of the night was never in doubt from that point forward. The Wildcats grabbed a 4-3 lead following a kill from senior Danielle Barhorst. The second team All-MAC senior led the Wildcats on the evening with nine kills as the home team methodically drove St. John's into submission the rest of the way as they took set four by a final of 25-11.
"We wanted to go out tonight and just play our game," Garman said. "We defeated them early in the season, but that was so long ago that we knew we couldn't take that into account. Both teams are much better since then and tonight we managed to put things together in the final three sets."
Photo by Nick Wenning/The Daily Standard

Minster's Brynn Oldiges (31) sets the ball to a teammate.

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