By ROBB HEMMELGARN
ST. MARYS — Following a busy weekend of volleyball action
in which the St. Marys Roughriders witnessed their record slip
to 2-3 overall, the Blue and Gold were eager to get back on
the winning side of things as they hosted the neighboring New
Bremen Cardinals last night at Cook Gymnasium.
For one game it looked as if the home team would make easy work
of the Cardinals, but in an instant, the tide changed, and the
Cardinals stormed back to take games two and three, pushing
their overall record to 4-2 with the 4-15, 15-0, 15-9 win.
“Momentum played a big part in tonight’s game,”
explained Cardinal coach Lisa Thobe. “In the first game,
we had absolutely none of it and in the second game, things
started to go our way, and the momentum built more and more
as the match progressed.”
In the opening game, the Roughriders ran off the first seven
points behind the serving of juniors Maggie Hegemier, Krista
Sanford, and senior Krissy Haines. The Cardinals ended their
scoring drought when junior Emily Hurlburt deflected the ball
from her bump into the net to make the score 7-1 in favor of
the Blue and Gold.
The two teams traded points to give St. Marys a six-point lead,
8-2, but then a five-point run by the home team seemingly put
the game out of reach. Trailing by 11 points, New Bremen’s
Kristen Luedeke served two quick points, but that’s all
the closer the visitors would get as Krissy Haines served the
next two Roughrider points for the 15-4 win.
“We don’t win first games very often and tonight
we came ready to play. We went out and did everything we needed
to do and were moving on all cylinders. Then after that, who
knows?,” commented St. Marys coach Monica Vanderhorst.
In game two, the teams traded a pair of sideouts before New
Bremen scored the first point and after that, the outcome was
never in doubt.
Senior Kacie Schmiesing and junior Abby Cisco combined for the
first four points of the game and from there, the game was in
the control of Casey Hamilton, the Cardinals‚ senior defensive
specialist. Hamilton used a combination of powerful service
and Roughrider return miscues to reel off the visitors’
next 11 points for the 15-0 shutout win.
“Over the summer and at the beginning of the season, Casey
wasn’t real confident with her serve, but lately she has
really started to come on, and tonight she had an excellent
game from behind the line,” complimented Thobe. “It’s
very good for her to have a game like tonight since she’s
a senior and has struggled with serving up to this point.”
With momentum clearly on the side of the Red and Gold going
into the final game, St. Marys showed they would not go down
without a fight as they served up the early 2-0 lead.
Cardinals tied the contest at two points apiece, and a short
time later took the lead in the contest they would eventually
wind up winning.
Scoring the next five points gave New Bremen the 7-2 lead and
five points was all the closer their opponent would get the
remainder of the match. The Cardinals went on to post the six-point
victory, 15-9, sending the Roughriders back to their locker
rooms with a 2-4 record.
“Following that first game, we started to play not to
lose instead of playing to win, and once a team starts to do
that, bad things happen,” remarked Vanderhorst. “We
didn’t stay aggressive at the end of the game, and we
committed a lot of mental mistakes. Until we start to correct
those things, we won’t be playing to the potential I believe
New Bremen will return home on Thursday to face the Coldwater
Cavaliers while St. Marys will host the Wapakoneta Redskins
in league action.