LIMA – An inexperienced Delphos St. John’s found that no lead is safe after falling to Lima Central Catholic 3-0, 25-22 and 26-24, in the volleyball version of the holy war Thursday night.
LCC improves to 2-0 on the season and Delphos falls to 0-2.
In the second and third sets, the Blue Jays opened up big early leads only to see them disappear to a determined Thunderbird team who never collapsed despite facing some big deficits.
Thunderbird head coach Wes Horstman was happy to get the win and said it was a grind but the team showed a lot of tenacity in battling back after winning the first game 25-21.
“The first set we came out and played really,” Horstman said. “Credit St. John’s in that second and third game for really pushing the points right at the beginning.”
Blue Jays head coach Carolyn Dammeyer, who is looking to replace four four-year letter winners who were lost to graduation and two seniors on the roster, was disappointed with the loss but encouraged by the team’s effort.
“We are very inexperienced as far as varsity playing time,” Dammeyer said. “We are very young and maybe not just knowing how to win yet.”
It was most evident in the second set when Delphos, behind the solid serving of sophomore Erica Moenter, opened up a 7-1 lead to open the game. The Blue Jays would see that lead grow to 19-10 and were six points away from evening the match.
However, the Thunderbirds turned things around and stormed back to outscore the Blue Jays 15-3 to snatch the victory away from Delphos. Spearheading the big LCC comeback was the net play of Rosie Williams who produced three kills along with Kennedy Parker and Jocelyn Morrisey who each contributed two kills.
The trio also notched several key blocks to stop Delphos from gaining any momentum offensively.
Despite the tough loss, Delphos St. John’s came out in the third set looking to bounce back and once again broke out to a 7-1 advantage. However, LCC did not wait as long this time to make a comeback and reeled off six straight points to knot the score at 7-7.
The match would go back and forth and the two teams found themselves tied, 24-24. But it was LCC that would win the set and the match by recording the final two points.
“We played a couple of kids off the bench that really came in and played well and provided a spark and just enough to get us over the hump,” Horstman said. “Sometimes that is what is about.”
Horstman added that even though the Thunderbirds were digging themselves in those early set holes, the girls hustled and worked hard to secure the win.
“Whether they were making mistakes or not we were still getting big times efforts and that is the way you grind,” Horstman said. “We made some good plays down the stretch in each of those sets and I think offensively that is a good thing for us and now we just got to build on it.”
For the Thunderbirds, Williams had two blocks and led the team with eight blocks. Morrisey had seven digs and setter Hannah Riepenhoff recorded 32 digs.
Despite the tough loss, Dammeyer said the team showed improvement from its first match loss to McComb.
“I was really happy with the way we played versus our opening game Tuesday,” Dammeyer said. “We are starting to correct some of those things we worked on in the offseason. As long as we keep improving I am happy with them.”
Delphos’ Hannah Elwer finished with eight kills.