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PATOKA – The newest member of the Patoka High School volleyball family saw a victory at her first match.
Coach Nicki Brubaker’s baby daughter, Lauren, had never watched her mom’s team compete before, and while Lauren is unable to walk or talk yet, she will probably find herself in the gym for many more matches.
“She’s my good luck charm,” Brubaker said.
The charm worked, as the Warriors defeated Brownstown High School in three sets (25-14, 21-25, 25-15) last Thursday in Patoka’s home opener.
After cruising to an easy win in the first set and taking an early lead in the second set, Patoka appeared to destined for their second straight-set victory of the young season.
Brownstown slowly battled back, eventually taking an 11-10 lead; Patoka’s poor communication leading a frustrated Brubaker to call timeout to encourage her players to start calling for the ball.
“Our team is strong,” Brubaker said. “If we can get our communication better, we’ll be better.”
The Warriors were energized by Brubaker’s words following the timeout, but the resolve of the young Bombers squad was too much, as it held off Patoka for the narrow set win, its first of the season.
Brownstown coach Toby Harms said that getting the first set win is a positive step for his squad, which has more freshman than sophomores, juniors and seniors combined.
“I think this is a nice stepping stone for us to move forward,” Harms said.
That momentum rolled over to the beginning of the third set, as a block and a forceful kill from Brownstown senior Breann Barnick pushed the Bombers to an early 6-3 lead.
“We knew that it was crucial to get (ahead) early, because Patoka has had a nice run dating back to last year,” Harms said. “Really, it had been quite awhile since we thought they had been challenged in a match.
“We knew if we can get a lead and put the pressure on them and neutralize Paige [Myers’] serve, we would have a chance.”
Myers, however, took advantage of her turn at the serve and netted six straight points to give Patoka a lead it would not relinquish. But Harms said the sequence was still a confidence-builder.
Myers also closed out the game with another streak of successful serves.
“When she gets [her serves] over, they are tough,” Brubaker said.
The Brownstown JV squad pulled off a victory against Patoka, rallying after a 25-13 defeat in the first set.
The Bombers squeaked by 25-23 in the second set before continuing that momentum to take the final set 25-15.
Patoka defeated Odin 25-8, 25-12 on Friday and defeated Mulberry Grove 25-9, 25-16 Tuesday.