Arlington senior Chase Andersen woke up with bounce in her step Saturday morning.
The outside hitter struck the ball with power and snap, leading her Eagles volleyball team to a 2-1 day at its home tournament. AHS (11-6 overall) opened with a 26-24, 25-10 sweep of the visiting Blair Bears (6-10), who went 1-2 across three Saturday matches.
“I don't know why, but I was doing very good,” Andersen said with a grin. “I think it was just Janessa's setting. It was really good today.”
Senior Janessa Wakefield passed the ball to her hitters quickly Saturday, allowing the Eagles' attacks to beat the opposing defenses to their spots. The rapid execution arguably showed most during Arlington's second set win against Blair.
Andersen notched four kills and an ace to help coach Katarina Nelson's team to an 8-1 lead. Taylor Arp and Kailynn Gubbels added blocks along the way as the Eagles earned a 2-0 sweep.
The second set with the Bears wasn't anything like the 26-24 first, though. In it, the Washington County schools traded leads throughout.
Gubbels beat a BHS block for an early 4-3 advantage, but Olivia Fitchhorn and Peyton Olge later combined for a Bears block to even the score at 13. Schuyler Roewert's service ace gave coach Becca Mellema's team a 14-13 advantage, too.
Lizzie Meyer tied the match back up at 21 for Arlington before back-to-back Roewert and Taylor Mostek kills did the same for Blair at 23-all. Andersen, Fitchhorn and Gubbels unleashed successful swings down the stretch before the Bears hit the ball into the net to end the game in Arlington's advantage.
“We weren't quite awake enough,” Fitchhorn said.
BHS would eventually get there, though. It lost its next match to Wahoo Neumann 2-0 before sweeping Omaha Roncalli in its final bout of the Arlington tourney.
The Bears won the first set against the Pride 25-14 when Mostek spiked the ball from right to left, notching a set-point kill. A Roewert block then ended the second, 26-24.
Libero Megan McKeon highlighted Blair's sixth victory of the season with a second-set, diving dig that registered as a point when it landed on Roncalli's side of the floor.
Communication, Fitchhorn said, was key to the Bears' day-long turnaround.
“We definitely talked better and we played as one team,” she added.
Arlington, meanwhile, swept Roncalli in its second match before falling to Neumann 25-15 and 25-14. Gubbels' kill ended the first set against the Pride, 25-21, before Arp's attack capped the second at 25-15. The Eagles had jumped ahead 10-0 to start the deciding set.
“Obviously, Neumann is a really good team. They've got really strong hitters,” Andersen said. “But, overall, I think we really connected as a team today.”
Arlington has 11 wins through 17 matches this fall, which is three more wins than it earned all of last season.
Eagles win, Bears lose Thursday
Before meeting on the court Saturday morning, Blair and Arlington competed in matches Thursday. The Bears lost 3-0 at Bennington, while Arlington bested Conestoga 2-1 and Logan View/Scribner-Snyder 2-0 during a home triangular.
The Eagles beat Conestoga 11-25, 25-17 and 25-13. Andersen led her team with 11 kills, while Gubbels notched 12 digs.
Then, in the nightcap, AHS defeated Logan View 32-30 and 27-25. Andersen had 13 kills and 14 digs, while Wakefield logged 26 assists and Gubbels notched 12 kills.
Blair, meanwhile, lost on the Badgers' home floor 27-25, 25-19, 25-19. Coach Mellema's squad pushed its opponent during the first set with Roewert's block tying it at 23-all. From there, McKeon's ace hit off the top of the net and fell to the floor to give BHS a 24-23 advantage.
Although Claire Gochanour successfully tapped the ball over the net and to the floor for the Bears' 25th point, Bennington, ultimately, scored the set win and the 3-0 sweep.
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