DuBOIS — After winning the opening set 25-16, DuBois found itself trailing 18-11 in the second set of its season finale at home against Karns City Wednesday night.
That is when Cate Gregory took the service line after a side out and rattled off 13 straight service points, finishing it off with an ace, as the Lady Beavers won the final 14 points of the set to win 25-18.
“Her serve was awesome, she took care of the second game pretty much by herself on the line, so that was great and we needed it at the time,” DuBois head coach Jason Gustafson said.
The home side then finished off the sweep with a commanding 25-15 win in the third set to close out the regular season with a victory and bring their record to 17-1 on the year.
“The kids finish the season 17-1 heading into the playoffs, for them that’s huge,” Gustafson said. “That’s one of the best seasons I’ve had here and its an awesome group of seniors and just an awesome group of girls.”
The Lady Beavers, who normally pride themselves on a strong service game, struggled in that facet in the early going against Karns City, as they committed five service errors in the opening set.
DuBois’ struggles from the line kept things close for most of the opening set, as a service point from Lady Gremlin Cassidy Nolan knotted the set up at 13.
While serving was not a strong suit for most of the Lady Beavers in the opening set, seniors Sydney Kaschalk and Hannah Ray each delivered at the line to help lead their team to an opening set win in their final home match.
The duo accounted for 12 of DuBois’ 13 service points in the opening set, each coming up with 4-point runs down the stretch, as both finished with six points at the line in the set.
After a service fault by Karns City gave the Lady Beavers the serve and a 14-13 edge, Kaschalk added to the cushion with a four point run that started off with an ace and was helped by a kill from Taylor Smith.
A side out later gave the service back to the Lady Gremlins, but another kill by Smith denied any chance the visitors had of cutting into the deficit.
Ray then secured four points in a row behind a trio of aces to push the lead to 23-14 as a side out eventually ended the opening set in DuBois’ favor at 25-16.
The Lady Beavers were unable to carry that momentum over into the second set, as into the middle portions of the set they did not have a single case of back-to-back service points.
On the other side, Karns City got runs of four and three to take its largest lead at 14-6.
Later in the set the Lady Gremlins took a seven-point lead at 18-11 off of a pair of Peyton Turner service points which were won on a Nolan block and Emily Huff kill.
A side out then brought DuBois within 18-12 before Gregory finished the set off with her impressive 13-point service run to secure the 25-18 victory and give the Lady Beavers a 2-0 set lead.
“We have this second-game blues, we came out in the second game and struggled to get going
Gregory finished with a match-high 14 service points along with four aces, while Kaschalk added 11 service points and Ray (6) and Sadowski (5) each added strong performances at the service line.
DuBois kept its foot on the gas in the third set Smith started the third set off with a kill and it trailed in the set and never allowed the Lady Gremlins to tie things up.
The home side led by as many as 11 on the way to a 25-15 win to close out the match.
Gustafson rotated most of his bench throughout the final set, as a handful of players played key roles in finishing off the match win.
Kaschalk recorded five points in the third set behind a pair of aces along with two kills and a block, while Lakin Smith had a four-point run that included an ace.
Kaschalk finished the match with eight kills along with a pair of blocks, while Smith finished with six kills and Sadowski added five.
Seniors Lexi Forbes and Brynlie Galiczynski each recorded a service point in the final set while Leah Colville came off the bench and recorded a kill.
“Tonight was great because I got some of the younger kids that can all play, it’s just hard to get them in there, it was a good chance to get them some playing time and have a little fun,” Gustafson said.
DuBois no heads into the District 9 Class 3A playoffs as it has a bye into the championship match which will be played at St. Marys Nov. 2 at 1 p.m.
The Lady Beavers will take on the winner of a Oct. 30 semifinal match between third-seeded Bradford and second-seeded Punxsutawney.
Gustafson said he is looking for his team to put the regular season behind them because the playoffs wipe the slate clean.
“We have to have the right mindset going in, our practices next week just have to be full on effort, we have to be working hard to get mentally prepared.”
“Whether it’s Punxsy or Bradford doesn’t matter because they both play the same type of game with high effort and high energy.”