BROOKVILLE — Trying its best to tune up for the postseason, the Brookville Lady Raiders volleyball team shook off a slow start on Senior Night to beat St. Marys in four sets Thursday night.
The Lady Raiders finished one of their best regular seasons ever at 15-3 after beating St. Marys, 23-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-14. Now it’s off to the District 9 Class AA playoffs as the top seed in the four-team tournament, opening at home against No. 4 seed Moniteau next Wednesday starting at 6:30 p.m.
Head coach Joyce Reitz’s team has never been the top seed, nor hosted a playoff game in its history.
“I’m excited to have a home game and I hope we have a nice crowd to support our girls. It’ll be excellent,” Reitz said. “This will be exciting. We’ve never been in this situation.”
It’s expected to be a battle for the title with the Lady Raiders, defending champion Redbank Valley and Kane. At 15-3, the Lady Raiders’ only losses were twice to DuBois and once to A-C Valley with two wins over Redbank Valley (five-set win) and Kane (four-set win).
“We’ll see on Saturday (finals in St. Marys Nov. 2) if we can make it that far,” Reitz said. “The margin is small, so we’ll see how good we can play.”
It took the Lady Raiders five sets to beat DuBois Central Catholic on the road Tuesday and against the 3-12 Lady Dutch, they found themselves down a set and trailing 6-0 to start the second set.
“That was probably an emotional start,” Reitz said of the annual Senior Night ceremony before the varsity match. “Tears shed and they weren’t quite in the right frame of mind to play. Then in the second set, we weren’t in the right frame of mind, but they turned it around and played much better after the 6-0 start.”
From there, the Lady Raiders got it back to 13-13, then closed the set with 12 straight service points from Morgan Johnson, three of them aces, to even things at 1-1.
The Lady Raiders pulled away late in the third set as Madison Johnson and Lauren Hergert had kills to finish off a 25-22 win. Then in the fourth set, they pulled away early and closed the night with a 9-2 run.
Lauren Hergert led the Lady Raiders with 12 kills and two blocks, Maggie Mackins finished with 11 kills and a block, Leah Kammerdeiner was solid as well with nine kills and one service ace and Morgan Johnson served five aces and turned in five kills.
St. Marys got a strong game at the net from Saige Heigel, who had seven kills and two blocks. Meghan McGonnell had five kills and one ace while Allison Schlimm and Payton Bauer each had four kills.
Brookville’s seniors Lauren Hergert, Madison and Morgan Johnson, Brooke Ganoe, Leah Kammerdeiner and Kira Powell were honored prior to the varsity match.
Brookville won the junior varsity match, 25-19, 25-23.