One should expect a long night of volleyball when rivals Columbus Scotus and Grand Island Central Catholic get together. Thursday night was no exception.
The two traditional rivals fought tooth and nail with each other for five thrilling sets with the Class C-1, No. 1 Shamrocks taking a 25-17, 18-25, 25-20, 17-25, 17-15 win over the No. 5 Crusaders at the GICC gym.
Scotus coach John Petersen said the Shamrocks (5-0) found a way to win, even though his team might not have played the cleanest match. Scotus overcame 24 hitting errors and 15 serving errors.
"It’s always a battle. Both teams play very hard," Petersen said. "Tonight might not have been the cleanest match by both teams as there were many errors. Both teams played hard and had their moments tonight. We made some key plays that helped us or we might have been the one on the bottom of the match."
GICC coach Sharon Zavala said she thought the Scotus block bothered the Crusaders at times. The Shamrocks had 11 on the night, including one at match point by Payton Chohon. However GICC, which had 13 hitting errors, did come away with 50 kills.
"I thought we held up physically with them very well because I felt their blocking made the difference," Zavala said. "I thought our hitters did a good job but they had some big blocks on us. And we did not."
Both teams got out to comfortable leads in the first four sets, which helped them win each one.
Neither team got much of a cushion as both took turns with the lead and battled to a 9-all tie in the fifth. Chohon broke the tie with a tip kill in giving Scotus a 10-9 lead.
After that, it looked like the Shamrocks were going to pull away to victory as Carley Foltz, who had 21 kills, had two and Chohon added another to give Scotus a 13-9 lead.
GICC did not go away. An Emma Benton kill and a Scotus error brought the Crusaders closer to 13-11, which forced Petersen to take a timeout. Then Sam Moravec pounded down a kill as GICC crept to within one, forcing the Scotus coach to use his last timeout.
A Foltz kill took Scotus to match point, but a Shamrock service error and a Kelsey Flaherty ace serve tied the match at 14-all.
But Scotus won the next point on a Kylie Rollman block. After both teams committed a service error, Chohon came up with the match-winning block.
Benton and Moravec gave the Shamrocks problems all night long. Benton led the Crusaders with 19 kills, while Moravec chipped in 17. Setter Sadie Goering had 37 set assists on the night.
"(Benton and Moravec) are two good players right there. They can really crush the ball," Petersen said. "We had a hard time getting blocks on them most of the time."
The one area Zavala said she was disappointed in was the Crusaders’ serving. She said she didn’t think the serving was that tough, especially in the first and fifth sets, as they only had three ace serves in the entire match, while committing 11 serving errors, including two in the fifth.
"Sometimes I felt we were just content to just getting the ball over, especially in the first set where I thought we gave them easy serves," Zavala said. "I did feel like it got better as the match went on but we still need to serve tougher."
But she said was happy with the Crusaders’ effort and felt it was better than it was at the Minden Invite Saturday.
"I’m proud of the kids because they really battled out there. They played 100 times better tonight than they did Saturday," Zavala said. "The kids dug a lot of balls. We made some strides. I felt our kids got more and more confidence as the match went on."
The Crusaders will host their home Invite Saturday. Action gets under way at 10 a.m.
Columbus Scotus (5-0) ...................................... 25 18 25 17 17
Grand Island CC (3-3) ........................................ 17 25 20 25 15
COLUMBUS SCOTUS (Kills-aces-blocks) — Morgan Thorson 0-1-0, Sarah Schumacher 2-3-0, Emily Kosch 0-3-0, Carley Foltz 21-1-0, Kristen Ohnoutka 0-3-0, Courtney Labenz 0-0-0, Kimberly Stutzman 3-0-3, Payton Chohon 14-0-2, Kylie Rollman 12-0-6. Totals 52-11-11.
GRAND ISLAND CC (Kills-aces-blocks) — Katie Golka 0-0-0, Sadie Goering 1-0-0, Kelsey Flaherty 0-2-0, Samantha Moravec 17-0-0, Allison Ostdiek 2-0-3, Lauren Webb 1-0-0, Emma Benton 19-0-1, Laura Lowry 0-0-0, Elysse Gratopp 10-0-2. Totals 50-3-6.
SET ASSISTS — CS: Thorson 46, Rollman 2, Chohon 2. GICC: Goering 37, Lowry 3, Webb 3, Benton 2, Moravec 2, Flaherty 1.