FORT MADISON – Grace under pressure.
Notre Dame High School volleyball has already been in a lot of pressure situations this season.
The Nikes are the reigning State Champions in Class 1A and ranked No.1 in Class 1A, so they know they’re going to get the best out of everyone every time they step onto the pitch.
Notre Dame has already beaten four ranked teams, and the Nikes’ six losses have been suffered by teams ranked in larger classes.
So when the Nikes found themselves in a seven-point hole at the end of Game 3 against their rival Holy Trinity, they didn’t panic.
Instead, the Nikes rolled up their sleeves and got to work, claiming a 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 UTE Superconference Division South victory over the Crusaders on Tuesday at the Shottenkirk Gymnasium.
When the going got tough, the Nike took the plunge.
“These games against the bigger schools are helping us a lot,” said Notre Dame middle forward Abby Korschgen, who had seven kills and four blocks. “We’re a little 1A school, playing these big 5A, 4A, 3A schools that are champions every year. They come out swinging. We have to take it up. The competition is big. It makes us better and it makes them better. expects us to stay with them and we are there with them with two points every time.
“It’s a good team. They can play defense like no other. I congratulate them on that. They are always very disciplined on the passes, ”said Notre Dame main forward Josie Bentz. “Being able to find holes in this defense is really good for us. Coming back to this third set showed how resilient we are, that we never give up. I think it’s really good that we fell because it really pushes us as a team to come together and play as one.
“Resilience,” Notre Dame head coach Mike Davis said of his team. “We knew what we were going to get into. It’s almost like a repeat of last year. We went out and won games 1 and 2. Then all of a sudden they turned into a different team. . I really think our defense and our passing down the home stretch really kept us in the game. ”
The crusaders show a competitive spirit
After losing the first two games, Holy Trinity came out on top in the third. And for the first time in the game, the Crusaders’ aggressive serve took their toll on Nike. Southpaw Natalie Randolph scored six straight points to give her team a 10-7 lead.
With Natalie and Kassi Randolph swinging and the Crusaders serving balls, the Nike were on their heels.
An ace from Natalie Randolph and a kill from Brooke Mueller gave Holy Trinity a 22-15 lead, just three points from forcing a fourth game.
“We came in and wanted to serve them aggressively. We kind of put them on the run there. We wanted to do it early, but it didn’t happen. We were in games one and two and should have taken game three, but we fought hard and did some good things tonight, ”said Holy Trinity head coach Melissa Freesmeier. hard. They had guts. We’re going to move on and learn from this game. We’re just going to get better. Children never gave up. They just went on and on. Give Notre Dame credit. They came back to Game 3. That’s how it goes. I’m still not disappointed with the kids tonight.
Nike show determination and resilience
Notre Dame responded like champions. Josie Bentz has gone down three times. Taryn Stephens suffered a stroke in the back row. And Korschgen had a pair of blocks as the Nikes returned to compete in the sweep.
“You could see a little bit of nervousness set in once the score got closer and then they took that little lead in the middle of the third,” said Davis. “We told them in the squad to just go play our system. Play like we play. They got out and got back to work and finished Game 3. It was a nice little win.
“It shows that we are working together wherever we are,” said Josie Bentz. “It doesn’t matter whether we’re on our home turf or on the HTC turf. We’re going to work as one team. Our goal is to win. If we work together, we’re going to achieve our goal.
“We kind of broke down for a few passes but we pulled ourselves together halfway and knew we had to take it back. That’s what we did, “Korschgen said.” I don’t think most people in the crowd even thought we had a big chance of coming back. We ourselves knew it was just a few points. We had to push one by one. until we finally tie it up and take the lead.
Abby Town Center
Korschgen had his best game of the season, which opened things up on the road for Josie Bentz and Gabby Deery. When the Nikes get the ball rolling for Bentz and Deery, they’re almost unstoppable.
“Everyone does their role well,” Korschgen said. “Even if you’re a bench player you have to cheer hard, gain momentum, swing when you can and shoot the blocks. I might not be as ready as some of the big hitters, but I know my work and I love my team.We encourage everyone, whatever their role.
“These are just our midfielders and our passer,” said Josie Bentz. “Our midfielders shoot the center blocker and even sometimes the right blocker. If our passer gets him out fast enough, most blockers can’t get out fast enough. It’s a set too fast.
“If we could take that away from Abby in every game, I’d be a loving kitten. She was putting balls away. She was rocking. I like to see this from Abby. She knows how to do it. It’s just a matter of being consistent every time, ”said Davis. “When we get those balls to push through to the pins, (Josie Bentz and Deery) have that option. Sometimes we don’t get the ball all the way. so they have to hit in the block. But if we take that ball out completely, the lights are off. Good luck with this ball. “
Until we meet again
The Nikes and Crusaders could meet twice more. The SEI Superconference tournament is scheduled for September 23-25. The teams could certainly meet in the final on September 25 at SCC’s Loren Walker Arena.
And then comes the playoffs. If the Nike and Crusaders don’t meet in a Class 1A region, they could most certainly meet at the State Tournament at the Alliant Energy Power House in Cedar Rapids.
“I’m sure HTC will pick it up and come and grab us by the throat next time, just like we will attack them directly,” said Josie Bentz.
“It’s always fun to play these kinds of games,” Freesmeier said. “They’re a great team. They’ve done great things. We knew that when we got there we had to give our all. We will keep pushing and entering (Wednesday) and improving.”
Kill – Josie Bentz 17, Gabbt Deery 14, Abby Korschgen 7
Help – Jenna Bentz 38
To serve – Jenna Bentz 21-21
Blocks – Korschgen 4
Excavations – Ava Parkins 22, Deery 13, Josie Bentz 13, Taryn Stephens 13
Kill – Natalie Randolph 15, Kassi Randolph 11, Mary Kate Bendlage 3, Brooke Mueller 3
Help – N. Randolph 15, K. Randolph 11, Mueller 1, Anna Sobczak 1
To serve – Mueller 14-14 (1 ace), N. Randolph 12-12 (4 ace), Laura Mehmert 7-7, K. Randolph 9-10, Teagan Snaadt 9-11, Sobczak 4-6, Bendlage 0-2
Blocks – K. Randolph 2, Kayla Box 2, Muieller 1, Reagan Holvoet 1
Excavations – Sobczak 17, K. Randolph 12, N. Randolph 6, Snaadt 6, Mueller 2, Mehmert 2, Bendlage 1
Recordings – Notre Dame 19-6 overall (4-0 SEI South Division Superconference, Holy Trinity 5-2 (1-1)