ST. ELMO – Brownstown coach Toby Harms knew he had a challenge on his hands once Patoka was upset and had to settle for playing in the silver flight of the Egyptian-Illini Conference Tournament last Thursday.
After his team beat Mulberry Grove (25-14, 17-25, 15-8) and lost to St. Elmo (12-25, 9-25) last Tuesday to advance to the silver flight, Harms immediately knew what his team needed to do to be successful against the No. 2 seed two days later.
“Don’t let (Patoka) have their way in the middle with (senior) Paige Myers,” he said. “If you eliminate her opportunities, then you give yourself a chance.”
Harms believed his team could slow her down, but in the end, the Warriors handily defeated the Bombers (25-12, 25-18) en route to the silver flight title.
On Friday, the coach said Brittany Kistler played “really well” in the digging game against Patoka, recording 10 digs. He also said his front row did well in blocking some of Myers’ attempts.
In pool A play last Tuesday, it wasn’t individual players giving the Bombers problem, it was free balls.
“St. Elmo is a good team, and when you give them free balls, you make their life easy,” Harms said. “They play at a higher speed than us.”
But when the other team is putting up free balls, Harms’ squad runs into trouble.
“We like playing good teams, because they hit at us,” Harms said. “When you’re offensively challenged like we are and Mulberry gives us a lot of free balls, that’s a problem for us, because we struggle offensively.”
That was evident, as the pesky Aces did not allow Brownstown to take a significant lead in the first set of their match until Bethany Oberlink served the Bombers ahead, 16-9.
But the Bombers couldn’t keep that late-set momentum, falling behind 15-11 and not being able to recover in the second set, which they lost, 25-17.
“We don’t know from minute to minute with this team where we’re going to end up,” Harms said. “We have stretches where we play real well, and you can see progress at times.
“With a young group, we’re going to get better. We keep making progress, and I don’t feel like the girls have given up at any point during the year.”
The Bombers recovered in the third, taking and holding an early lead to win, 15-8.
Eighth-seeded Brownstown was scheduled for a rematch with No. 1 St. Elmo in the first round of the Strasburg Regional Tournament at Stew-Stras High School on Wednesday.
Thursday, Oct. 21
vs. Patoka in Silver Flight
Set 1: PHS 25, BHS 12
Set 2: PHS 25, BHS 18
Kills – Katy Satterthwaite, 4; Lakin Evans, 3.
Service Aces – Kistler, 3.
Assists – Morgan Stinebring, 5.
Digs – Kistler, 10.
Thursday, Oct. 21
vs. Christ Our Rock Lutheran in Silver Flight
Set 1: CORL 25, BHS 18
Set 2: BHS 25, CORL 23
Set 3: CORL 15, BHS 6
Kills – Stinebring, 5; Satterthwaite, 4; Shenisa Dunn, 4, Breann Barnick, 3.
Service Aces – Michaela Walk, 2; Kistler, 2.
Assists – Stinebring, 10.
Digs – Dunn, 6.
Tuesday, Oct. 19
vs. St. Elmo in Pool A
Set 1: SEHS 25, BHS 12
Set 2: SEHS 25, BHS 9
Kills – Dunn, 2; Satterthwaite, 2.
Assists – Stinebring, 4.
Tuesday, Oct. 19
vs. Mulberry Grove in Pool A
Set 1: BHS 25, MGHS 14
Set 2: MGHS 25, BHS 17
Set 3: BHS 15, MGHS 8
Kills – Dunn, 5; Oberlink, 5; Stinebring, 5; Satterthwaite, 5; Walk, 4; Barnick, 3.
Service Aces – Oberlink, 4; Satterthwaite, 3; Walk, 2.
Assists – Stinebring, 10; Satterthwaite, 9.
Digs – Kistler, 7.