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Lady Vandals finish second at own tournament

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By Andrew Harner

VANDALIA – Prior to Saturday’s Vandalia Tournament, Lady Vandals coach Allison Hall wasn’t sure that it was going to be a good day for her team.

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With the homecoming football game and dance the night before, players could have sluggishly opened tournament play at 8 a.m.

But instead, they showed they were going to do everything they could to have a strong showing for the home fans.

Beating South Central in an exciting 24-26, 26-24, 15-11 match set the tone for the rest of the day, as the Lady Vandals would roll past East Alton-Wood River and Lebanon before falling to Greenville in the championship game of the event.

“This morning, we played really well,” said coach Allison Hall. “In the first match, we struggled with errors, just like in the championship game, but we came back in the second and third games and played about the best we have played all year.

“We were consistent and confident, and worked as a group.”

Junior Johanna Walton (24) and senior Megan Godoyo (22) paced the offense in kills, while junior Kadi Metzger served nine aces, junior Jessica Sullens had 75 assists and Walton had 3½ blocks.

The 3-1 mark in the tournament moved Vandalia’s record to 9-5 for the season.

***

Early leads didn’t seem to mean much in the opening game of the Vandalia Tournament.

Both Vandalia and South Central held early leads in different sets of that game, but the other team rallied to pick up the set, as the Lady Vandals outlasted their Fayette County rival in three sets, with a 24-26, 26-24, 15-11 lead.

Vandalia opened up a 12-3 lead early in the first set, starting the game with four straight kills from four different players and getting four more to establish its attack game.

But South Central sophomore Deidra Schaal served six straight points to close the gap, and the Lady Cougars eventually took the lead on an ace by junior Megan Burleyson and kills by seniors Karrigan Smith and Lincoln Brasel.

South Central would push its lead to 23-19 before Vandalia began its comeback.

Three straight errors by the Lady Cougars and a kill by junior Kadi Metzger tied the set, and an ace by junior Jessica Sullens gave Vandalia a lead.

A hitting error followed by a kill by South Central junior Cassidy Sill and an ace by junior Alexis Harpster gave the Lady Cougars the tight victory.

That momentum continued into the second set, as South Central took a 7-4 lead before the teams would trade the lead seven more times before a kill by Metzger and an attack error by the Lady Cougars would give Vandalia a 26-24 win.

“We just kept grinding it out,” said coach Allison Hall. “We were communicating and picking up balls that we should.

“That’s what it takes for us to be successful.”

There were seven ties in the early-going of the third set – the last coming at 8-8 – before Vandalia would outscore South Central, 7-3, from there to take the match.

Brasel led all hitters, with 11 kills, and junior Mercedes Reynolds pace the Lady Vandals with eight kills.

Saturday, Sept. 21
South Central 26, Vandalia 24
Vandalia 26, South Central 24
Vandalia 15, South Central 11
Lady Vandals
Kills: Reynolds, 8; Metzger, 7; Johanna Walton, 5; Megan Godoyo, 3; Sullens, 1; Makayla Tinker, 1.
Aces: Sullens, 2; Gracie Morrison, 1.
Assists: Sullens, 19; Metzger, 3.
Blocks: Tinker, 1; Metzger, ½; Walton, ½.
Lady Cougars
Kills: L. Brasel, 11; Maria Brasel, 5; Abbey Garrett, 4; Burleyson, 3; Emily Chapman, 2; Smith, 2; Schaal, 1; Sill, 1.
Aces: Schaal, 2; Burleyson, 1; Harpster, 1.
Assists: M. Brasel, 15; Schaal, 6; Chapman, 2; Burleyson, 1; Smith, 1; Monica Young, 1.
Blocks: Garrett, 1½; Burleyson, ½; Chapman, ½; Sill, ½.

***

In the middle two games, Vandalia played about as well as it has all season in a 25-15, 25-10 win against East Alton-Wood River and a 25-8, 25-13 win against Lebanon.

The Lady Vandals wasted little time getting ahead in match.

Against EAWR, senior Megan Godoyo had three kills and junior Mercedes Reynolds had two aces over five straight points to give Vandalia a 13-5 lead in the first set.

Godoyo would have three more kills in the set and finished with 10 for the match.

Against Lebanon, three straight aces from junior Kadi Metzger set the tone as Vandalia took a 5-1 lead in the first set.

Lebanon would get no closer than three points before junior Jessica Sullens served nine straight points to put the set out of reach.

The Lady Vandals had five kills in the span of 10 points in the middle of the second set to cruise to victory.

Junior Johanna Walton had a team-high eight kills in the match, including three of the first four points in the second set.

Madison Click served her first career ace during the match.

Saturday, Sept. 21
Vandalia 25, EAWR 15
Vandalia 25, EAWR 10
Kills: Godoyo, 10; Walton, 5; Reynolds, 4; Makayla Tinker, 4.
Aces: Gracie Morrison, 3; Metzger, 2; Reynolds, 2; Brandy Protz, 1; Sullens, 1.
Assists: Sullens, 19; Godoyo, 1; Tinker, 1.
Blocks: Tinker, 1½; Walton, 1; Sullens, ½.
Saturday, Sept. 21
Vandalia 25, Lebanon 8
Vandalia 25, Lebanon 13
Kills: Walton, 8; Metzger, 5; Godoyo, 4; Reynolds, 4; Tinker, 1.
Aces: Metzger, 3; Jessica Booker, 1; Click, 1; Protz, 1; Sullens, 1.
Assists: Sullens, 18; Metzger, 1; Tinker, 1.
Blocks: Walton, 1; Goodyo, ½; Tinker, ½.

***

Vandalia’s stellar play almost carried over throughout the entire championship game, but after losing a tight first set, the Lady Vandals were unable to come back in the 23-25, 16-25 loss to Greenville.

“Our day yesterday (homecoming) was finally catching up to us, but that’s no excuse, since we played well in the first set,” said coach Allison Hall. “We got to the point where we started making errors, but we don’t know how to get out of it.

“We just have to get to the point where if we make an error, we turn it around and then do something positive.”

The Lady Vandals committed a litany of hitting and attack errors in the second set, allowing Greenville to snatch a 7-5 lead and then turn it into a 16-8 lead over the next 12 points.

Two kills by each senior Megan Godoyo and junior Kadi Metzger over the next six points cut the deficit in half, but the Lady Comets would take advantage of six more Vandalia attack errors the rest of the way.

“We just weren’t confident in anything we were doing – passing or hitting,” Hall said. “Unfortunately, that was the turn of events, but overall, I am pleased with the efforts in the tournament.”

In the first set, the teams were tied at seven different junctures in the game after Vandalia held the early lead through the first 19 points.

Greenville then tied the match at 10, and the teams would trade the lead seven times until it was tied at 20.

The Lady Comets then picked up four straight points, but Vandalia refused to let them get a match point, as junior Johanna Walton blocked an attack and killed off another to help cut the lead to one.

A kill for Greenville would close the set, however.

Walton paced the Vandalia attack with six kills, and Godoyo and Metzger followed with five each.

Metzger added four aces and junior Jessica Sullens assisted on 19 of the team’s 22 kills.

Saturday, Sept. 21
Greenville 25, Vandalia 23
Greenville 25, Vandalia 16
Kills: Walton, 6; Godoyo, 5; Metzger, 5; Mercedes Reynolds, 4; Makayla Tinker, 2.
Aces: Metzger, 4; Jessica Booker, 1; Reynolds, 1.
Assists: Sullens, 19; Booker, 1.
Blocks: Walton, 1.
Record: 9-5