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ST. ELMO – The Patoka High School volleyball team was upset by fifth-seeded Beecher City in pool B of the Egyptian Illini Conference Tournament on Monday night in St. Elmo.
The second-seeded Warriors got off to a fast start, dominating eighth-seeded Odin in straight sets in the opening game of pool play, 25-13, 25-11. But after Beecher City defeated Odin, 25-10, 25-15 in game two, it came into game three against Patoka seeking an upset.
The Eagles then did what Odin could not by keeping the Warriors entrenched in a battle.
Falling behind 8-3 early, Beecher City clawed back, eventually taking a 10-9 lead. Six points later, the Eagles took a 13-12 advantage and never looked back, taking the set 25-19.
The Warriors played nearly flawless volleyball against Odin, using precise passes and clear communication to win, but for a reason unknown to coach Nicki Brubaker, both of those aspects disappeared against Beecher City.
“The girls get overly excited, maybe,” Brubaker said. “They start to get nervous if the game gets close and start making silly mistakes that they normally do every day.”
Patoka fell behind early in the second set as well, going down 12-8 before Brubaker called a timeout and pleaded that her team improve its communication and passing.
The team seemed to play with more effort following that stoppage, but it still couldn’t get ahead, trailing 19-15 late in the set.
But to get that 15th point, the Warriors chased down two loose balls before sending a kill across the net, energizing the squad and its fans. Then, Patoka outscored the Eagles 10-4 the rest of the way to take a 25-23 set win.
“They got a couple good passes, and whenever we can hit, we do a good job,” Brubaker said. “But if we fall apart in passing, then there’s nothing you can do.”
In the third set, Patoka pulled out to an early lead, but after Beecher City called a timeout, it erased its one-point deficit to take a 14-11 advantage and put Patoka’s backs against the wall.
But, Patoka senior Paige Myers then recorded a kill and a block to pull the Warriors within one. Beecher City called its second timeout, and scored the game-winning point moments later to win, 15-13.
“The girls did what they could and played their hardest, so what can you do?” Brubaker said.
Against Odin, the Warriors showed dominance, displayed most clearly in the second set when Myers and Kendra Miller served 17 of Patoka’s first 20 points to extend its lead to 20-4.
“Whenever our serves are on, it changes the game,” Brubaker said.
Patoka will play for fourth-place on Thursday at St. Elmo, starting at 6 p.m.
Other EIC Games
Ramsey lost to Cowden-Herrick (21-25, 19-25) and Christ Our Rock Lutheran (25-23, 17-25, 15-17) in pool C of the EIC Tournament at Brownstown.
Kills – Angel McDonald, 9; Jessica Carroll, 3; Darien Carter, 2; Morgan Kelly, 2; Kati Cole, 1.
Blocks – McDonald, 2; Morgan Kelly, 1.
Service Aces – McDonald, 1; Cecelia Miller, 1.
Assists – Carter, 5; Cole, 1; Kelly, 1.