VOLLEYBALL: Beecher proves too much for Watseka to handle
BEECHER — It’s not flashy nor overpowering. It’s just pure consistency.
Showing they’re one of the most consistent teams in the area, Beecher did what it has done best this season and protected its home floor with a straight-set victory against Watseka 25-10 and 25-21 on Thursday.
“Overall, this is the best game we’ve played as a whole,” Beecher coach Emily Doersam said. “We had looks everywhere, and everyone was on. We felt confident; we had each other’s backs and moved very well. We bounced back nicely.”
Big 3 takeover
After ties at 5-5 and 6-6, Watseka committed a serving error that gave Beecher a 7-6 lead. Kaylie Sippel registered a block to later push the lead to 9-7.
The rout was on from there.
Beecher’s “Big Three” of Sippel, A.J. Picicco and Madison Irwin put the Bobcats on their backs and went to work.
Sippel did a little bit of everything, as she’s become accustomed to, from assisting to serving aces, blocking and even logging a couple of kills.
Irwin did her damage from the serving line, helping to serve up a 12-0 run including three aces along with a handful of digs.
Picicco went completely out of her mind at the net toward the back half of the set. With the team ahead 13-7, she became an unstoppable force and racked up half a dozen kills that completely took Watseka out of the game.
In total behind those three, Beecher finished the set on a 17-3 run for the first set wipeout victory.
“We’ve known each other and played together for so long,” Picicco said of herself, Sippel and Irwin. “We’re always working hard in practice along with the rest of the team to get everything down and continue building that chemistry.”
“Everyone was really ready for this game,” Picicco continued. “We knew [Watseka] was going to be a tough competitor, especially Kennedy Bauer. She’s been tough only for the past three years, but we came at this game with our best attitude, kept our energy high and played as a team.”
Overcoming Bauer power
It’s no secret when a team plays Watseka, there’s one player you’re always keying on, and that is Bauer.
And even when you key on her, it still isn’t enough sometimes.
“Kennedy is great at putting the ball anywhere she wants,” Doersam said. “Whether its over our block, through our block or hitting around the block, we knew she would get her share of kills no matter how much we keyed on her.”
The Warriors fed their go-to player early and often, which resulted in them owning a 7-4 lead with Bauer having logged four kills already.
Later in the set, with the Bobcats ahead 17-14, Bauer powered down back-to-back kills to bring the Warriors within one.
″[Watseka] fed Kennedy the ball, and sometimes you can’t defend her,” Picicco said. “Kaylie turned around at one point and said to me, ‘It will be like that’ and shrugged her shoulders. We tried our best and got some good blocks on her, but Kennedy is a great player.”
Bauer notched kill Nos. 12 and 13 to give Watseka a 20-19 lead, but it wasn’t to be sustained, as the Bobcats strung together a 6-1 run to cap off their victory.
“This was a great comeback for us,” Picicco said. “We didn’t play as good as we normally do in the Bradley-Bourbonnais tournament over the weekend, so it was a great win over a great team.”
Beecher is back in action today on the road at Illinois Lutheran. Watseka rebounds Saturday, when its hosts the Watseka Invitational.