It wasn't perfect, it included nearly giving up a two sets to one lead, but Aquinas Catholic volleyball found its first win of the season in a five-set affair Sept. 12 on the road at Shelby-Rising City.
The Monarchs took the first set 25-20, and the second 26-23, but couldn't quite finish off the third in a 26-24 loss. When the Huskies took the fourth 25-22, it forced the drama of a first-to-15 final set.
Aquinas won 11 of the first 14 points then cruised to its first victory in 15-5 fifth-set win.
"We just tried to stay aggressive and force Shelby to make some errors," Aquinas head coach Jody Pelan said about the fifth set.
The go-to hitter all night was Gabrielle Oborny, racking up 24 kills on 43 swings. Teammate Justine Beringer served up three aces to go with 10 digs and Gracyn Wollmer recorded eight kills, Madi Jelinek five and Jadyn Sirocky three.
"We were very up and down throughout the match," Pelan said. "I think S-RC improved their serve receive as the match went on, and that sparked their offense and their hitters. They made a few plays at the end of the third to boost their confidence and momentum, and we got too tentative, which allowed them to win the third on about a 5-0 run."
Macey Thege finished with 24 assists and 13 digs, and Natalie Kovar had 12 assists and eight digs. Jelinek led in blocks with two.
"I don't think we felt as much pressure to win as we did to actually finish a match," Pelan said. "We let one slip away last week to Arlington, and I challenged the girls after the fourth set to not let that happen again."
Kamryn Pokorney led S-RC in kills with 17, blocks with seven and aces with three.
Jordie Nekl and Clare Kohl both recorded 15 digs while Maddie Hopwood finished with 29 assists.
David City def. East Butler 25-18, 25-19, 25-10: Lauren Vandenberg led the way attacking with 20 kills, Payton Andel set up 34 assists and Natalie Blum recorded 16 digs while also serving up three aces for the victorious Scouts.
Andel also sent five Tiger shots to the floor on blocks at the net.
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Lexi Haney tallied six kills to lead East Butler, Allie Rigatuso had 11 digs, Kailyn Hummel recorded eight assists and 12 serve receptions, all of which were team highs.
East Butler fell to 1-9 but then began a week off before the next match, hoping to use the time to heal and improve.
"We might have played our best of the season the first two sets," East Butler head coach Karmen Widick said in comments. "We were digging a lot of balls and hustling after everything. If we cut out our unforced errors in the second set, I think we win that one and have momentum going into the third.
"We may not be getting wins, but we are improving and will continue to do so as long as the girls continue to work every time they step on the court. We literally played 25 percent of our total matches last week and need some time to nurse some nagging injuries and prepare for the rest of the season."
Aquinas def. North Bend Central 25-22, 25-19: Aquinas picked up its second victory of the season after defeating North Bend Central at the North Bend Central Invite on Saturday. The Monarchs sat at 2-5 at the conclusion of the tournament.
Wayne def. Aquinas 25-23, 25-18: In the the first match of the North Bend Central Invite, Aquinas was swept by Class C-1 No. 3 Wayne.
Elgin/Pope John def. Shebly-Rising City 24-25, 25-18, 25-17: In the first match of the Howells-Dodge Invite on Saturday, Shelby-Rising City won the first set but lost the next two.
Kamryn Pokorney recorded 17 kills to lead the Huskies, followed by Reece Ingalls who totaled 12. Pokorney also led S-RC with three aces. Jayce Vrbka led the Huskies with four blocks.
Elkorn Valley def. Shebly-Rising City 26-24, 25-17: Pokorney recorded 11 more kills in the second game of the tournament, but the Huskies were unable to avoid the sweep
Howells-Dodge def. Shelby-Rising - 25-9, 26-24: Reece Ingalls led the Huskies in kills with nine, digs with 10 and serve receptions with nine. Vrnka tallied a team-high two aces and Maddie Hopwood led with 11 assists.
Shelby-Rising City sat at 1-6 at the end of the weekend.