KEOSAUQUA — A tough five-set win over Cardinal last week woke up the Van Buren High School volleyball team because they were certainly wide awake Thursday in a Class 2A regional semifinal victory over Pella Christian.
The Warriors opened the match on a 9-0 run, getting kills from Taryn Scheuermann, Grace Davidson, and Salena Sayre behind the serving of Logan Schmitt.
The Warriors won the match 3-1. Van Buren (31-4) advances to play Nodaway Valley (20-6), which beat West Central Valley 25-8,25-11, 25-8, at a site to be determined Tuesday.
“We had a rough match against Cardinal so we know how to come out and be strong at the start of this one,” Davidson said. “Our defense made all the difference. As the game went on they did not hit a lot of lines so we adjusted and covered the floor better.”
“Their first rotation is really strong and they are a very strong hitting team,” Pella Christian head coach Joanna Settles said.
“Logan is the best server in the state,” VB head coach Matt Zeitler said. “Gracie was on fire and then along comes Tayrn and she was pretty tough to handle. Selena made some spares and did not make a lot of mistakes.”
Van Buren rolled to a 25-17 win in the first set, but fell behind in the second set after it was tied at 2-2 and 7-7. Zeitler called time trailing 14-8 and eventually trailed by as much as 22-9.
“We just got more aggressive offensively in the second set,” Settles said. “We got a lot of blocks, which I don’t think they’re used to.” Van Buren closed the set on a 6-3 run to lose 25-15.
“We were a little lax in the second set but what I liked about it is we could’ve hung our heads and quit and instead we rallied at the end and that momentum carried over into the next set,” Zeitler said.
“Winning the third set is always important, but especially if you lose the second,” Davidson said. “We picked ourselves up and told ourselves we know how to play and that made us all play better.”
VB rode that momentum and took a 10-4 lead into the third set.
“Crazy old ‘Mo’ makes a difference in this game,” Zeitler said. “We got excited and started jumping around and that made a difference.”
The Eagles closed to 12-9 and tied it at 19 but never took the lead. VB won 25-21.
“That was some of the best volleyball that we have played and I’m assuming that was some of the best ball they have played as well,” Settles said. “It felt like state tournament volleyball during the middle of that third set.”
The Warriors started strong again in the fourth set, building a 10-4 lead before the Eagles came flying back to get within 20-19 and Zeitler called time.
Davidson got a kill out of the timeout and a clever tip to get to match point. Scheuermann slammed the final point down.
“Chelsey (Huff) had a big hit in the last game,” Zeitler said. “We are just strong all around. We have a girl in the black uniform (libero Isabel Manning) back there that can catch anything. If we don’t make stupid mistakes, we can win most any ballgame.”