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FARINA – Freshman Emily Chapman killed off the winning point in each of South Central’s two set wins last Thursday, Monica Young went on a key serving streak at the end of the match and the Lady Cougars upset top-seeded North Clay in the regional finals.
Playing at home in a Class 1A tournament, second-seeded South Central earned coach Mary Brimberry’s ninth regional championship plaque with a back-and-forth 25-21, 18-25, 25-19 victory.
“I felt like my team was a good team, and I felt like (we) were the better team,” Brimberry said. “I can’t slack North Clay – they played an awesome game and beat us earlier in the season – but I am with my girls day in and day out, and I know they are very capable (of winning).”
South Central is now 17-16 on the season, and avenged a 19-25, 25-10, 19-25 loss to the Lady Cardinals on Sept. 26, with comebacks in both the first and third sets to advance to the Lebanon Sectional.
After seven ties and four lead changes in the third set, Young went to the service line and tied the match at 17 on her first serve.
And then she made sure the fifth lead change of the set would be the last one, serving five more points to all but secure the victory.
“Monica is an awesome server, but sometimes she doubts herself,” Brimberry said. “She puts so much on her own shoulders – being a senior and wanting to be that role model and leader – and she has been that.
“I watched her, and she was a nervous wreck,” she said. “But she went out and did what she needed to do.”
Kills by seniors Lincoln Brasel and Karrigan Smith helped lead up to Chapman’s kill on the final point.
“This would have been my last game, and I would have been really upset if we had lost, so it was really important that we won,” Brasel said.
Those kills gave South Central 13 in that set – a drastic difference than in the first two sets.
The Lady Cougars trailed for nearly the entire first set, finally getting a lead at 20-19 on a second straight kill by junior Maria Brasel – who led all players with 14 in the match.
With a 24-21 lead, Chapman lofted a set over the net, dropping it in the far right corner for the set point.
That momentum carried over to the start of the second set, as South Central held the lead for the first 35 points.
North Clay, however, had its own comeback with a 10-0 run that started out with the Lady Cardinals trailing 15-18 and lasted to the end of the set.
After that, Brimberry told her team to get back to playing the way they did at the end of the first set.
“We had to play with confidence,” she said. “We got back on our heels a little bit, so we had to take charge of the ball.”
Thursday, Oct. 31
South Central 25, North Clay 21
North Clay 25, South Central 18
South Central 25, North Clay 19
Kills: M. Brasel, 14; L. Brasel, 5; Chapman, 4; Abbey Garrett, 3; Brittney Potter, 3; Smith, 2.
Aces: L. Brasel, 3; M. Brasel, 1; Megan Burleyson, 1; Chapman, 1.
Assists: Chapman, 16; M. Brasel, 8; L. Brasel, 1; Burleyson, 1; Potter, 1; Young, 1.
Blocks: L. Brasel, 1½; Chapman, 1; M. Brasel, ½; Potter, ½; Smith, ½.