LEBANON – Twice during the sectional championship game last Thursday, St. Elmo senior Heather Seibert was where all of Lebanon’s gym’s attention was focused.
In the second set, she ripped off 11 straight serves to help St. Elmo build a 19-3 lead, and in the third set, she strung another seven together to tie the match at 18 and propel the Lady Eagles to the sectional title.
“She was awesome,” said senior teammate Perry Manley. “This might be the best game she has ever played.
“Her serves were awesome, and she is well-deserving because she is such a great person.”
Seibert had just two aces in the match, a 19-25, 25-9, 25-22 victory against Lebanon, but also added nine digs and a kill.
On the season, she led St. Elmo with 66 aces and was second with 229 digs.
“She’s our blue-collar worker,” said coach Elise Asher. “She is down in the trenches doing all the things that get no recognition or glory.
“By no means does anybody in our group think that what she does is not important,” she said. “She is the beginning of our hitters getting the spotlight, and Heather is OK with that.”
After losing the first set last Thursday, St. Elmo’s players knew that a strong start to the second set was vitally important.
And after securing an 8-2 lead, Seibert made sure that it wouldn’t go to waste.
“I kept telling myself that I needed to make serves, because if I didn’t, I would be letting down the team,” she said.
But it was her streak in the third set that was the true game-changer.
Lebanon had just taken a 16-10 lead due to four straight St. Elmo errors, and Seibert took over the serve with the Lady Eagles trailing 12-17.
Two kills, a block and an ace combined with a Lebanon net violation to tie the set at 17, and another error from Lebanon gave St. Elmo the lead.
“I was just thinking that they were cheering for just me and blocking out the other team’s crowd,” Seibert said of the raucous crowd on both sides of the gym. “I was pumped and ready to play.”
The points ended up being vital, as the Lady Greyhounds were able to play evenly enough for the rest of the set that had Seibert not secured her six points, Lebanon easily could have won.
“Without her serves, I don’t think we would have been able to go through this game,” said senior teammate Savannah Feezel. “We definitely needed good serves all night, and that’s exactly what Heather gave us.”