’Rocks sweep past Vikes in city rivalry
Scotus Central Catholic used a devastating serving game and contributions from all over the lineup to snap a three-match losing skid and take the latest edition of the city rivalry over Lakeview on Tuesday night.
The Shamrocks won in straight sets over the Lady Vikes by scores of 25-14, 25-21 and 25-13 to stave off a potential four-game skid - something SCC hasn’t gone through in more than 10 years.
Bailey Lehr again led offensively with 12 kills but had much more support than five days ago in a five-set loss to Lincoln Christian when the senior was one kill away from tying the school record.
Four other players had at least five kills and Scotus only committed one service error all night - something that had plagued the team all season.
Those elements plus a scrappy defense were too much for a Lakeview team that had won six of its last seven.
“I would say this is the best match we’ve played start to finish,” coach Janet Tooley said. “I saw potential in this group when we were in the finals of our own tournament early in the season, and we’ve just kind of been trying to get back to that.
“I’m not going to deny, there’s been a lot of pressure on these girls. This is a program of tradition, and there is more parity in C-1 right now. It’s tough to go on long winning streaks in C-1. If we play Lakeview on Saturday (at the Columbus Classic) and they get on a long run it might be a whole different match.”
Scotus was the team making the runs on Tuesday. The Shamrocks opened the night winning 11 of the first 12 rallies en route to taking the first set 25-14. Lehr scored four of those points on kills, but Amber Buhman and Courtney Kosch were in the mix as well.
By the time the set had ended, four different Shamrocks had recorded a kill and Scotus had racked up four aces.
Lakeview held the upper hand through most of the second set, building a 4-0 lead that became as large as 10-5 until Scotus won seven of nine at one point and took its first lead 19-18. The ’Rocks put it away with six of the next nine points on three Viking errors, a block and a kill from Buhman and a kill by Emily Stutzman.
Scotus matched Lakeview’s second-set start with a 4-0 lead of its own but never gave it away. When the Shamrocks scored seven straight to go up 19-9, any hopes for a Viking comeback were essentially extinguished.
“I don’t know if it was playing with desperation or just gosh darn tired of killing ourselves with our own errors,” Tooley said. “That was really our goal tonight, just to play smart volleyball.
“Some panic may have set in during some of our five-set matches where we’re trying to overplay instead of being calm and going with the scout report. The girls were right on with the scout report tonight.”
Whatever that report contained, Tooley couldn’t have drawn up a better serving effort. Scotus was nearly perfect from the serving line and consistently dictated the action on Lakeview’s side of the net.
“Our passers have to handle that. We’re going to see teams that serve tough. We’re going to have to deal with that,” Viking coach K.C. Belitz said. “We’re going to have to be able to move our feet, put the platform in front of the ball and put the ball in our setter’s hands. There were times we did that, but not enough to be successful.”
Scotus gains back a measure of confidence in snapping its skid while Belitz is interested to see how his team shows up to practice on Wednesday.
“We have work to do in a lot of ways,” he said. “Tomorrow at practice tells us where we’re headed if we’re OK with just being good, which we clearly are, or if want something more.
“Now, the girls have to show what they believe rather than just talking about it.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for the Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org