ST. ELMO – For St. Elmo/Brownstown, the height of Altamont’s players was the major concern coming into Tuesday’s semifinal game at the Class 2A St. Elmo Regional.
Turned out that it would be a little more complex than that.
Top-seeded Altamont served 14 aces to go along with several blocks and thunderous kills in defeating fifth-seeded SEB, 25-10, 25-13, in the Lady Eagles’ most lopsided loss of the season.
“Their top-spin serves were very aggressive, and we had a hard time on serve-receive,” said SEB coach Elise Asher. “And the kids on the other side of the net are just too tall, long and strong.
“I think on our best night, we give them a run for their money, but tonight was not our night, because Altamont executed and performed their game plan.”
The Lady Indians – whose roster includes 12 seniors – took the lead early in both sets, a stark contrast from their 24-26, 25-15, 30-28 victory against SEB on Oct. 8.
Asher said the difference between the games was that the Lady Eagles didn’t allow a lot of long streaks of points then, as opposed to the five times on Tuesday when Altamont scored at least four straight points.
“We were able to break their serves and not let them go on five-, six- or seven-point runs,” Asher said. “Our two-person serve-receive struggled tonight.”
Altamont’s longest stretch was a 7-0 run at the start of the second set, which propelled the Lady Indians to a 9-1 lead, but it was shortly after that when SEB (20-16) played its best stretch of volleyball.
Senior Courtney Howard recorded a kill to break Altamont’s serve, and that was followed by an ace by senior Danie Austin, another kill by Howard and another ace by Austin.
That only cut the lead to 9-5, and while Asher said that had the next point – a long volley – ended in SEB’s favor, it could have changed the complexion of the set, it probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the match.
“We had a stretch where we were able to get three or four points in a row, because we had spot-on passes,” Asher said. “We were able to run some offense, rather than just give them the ball and let them mash it through the floorboards.”
Howard paced the Lady Eagles with four kills, and Austin’s two aces were the only ones on the night for SEB.
Tuesday, Oct. 29
at St. Elmo Regional
Altamont 25, SEB 10
Altamont 25, SEB 13
Kills: Howard, 4; Gabi Moore, 2; Bethany Oberlink, 2; Emily Bone, 1; Katie Kroll, 1.
Aces: Austin, 2.
Assists: Erica Behl, 4; Michaela Walk, 2; Kroll, 1; Sarah Maxey, 1; Oberlink, 1.
Blocks: Oberlink, ½; Walk, ½.