Both teams had their fair share of amazing digs and well-placed serves in the 37th District battle.
The game came down to which team saw its big hitters pound the ball more consistently and the host Scott Eagles (15-11) did that earning the 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-21), win over the Bishop Brossart Mustangs (17-9) in the first district seed game for both teams.
“We know Brossart’s a really scrappy team,” said Andrea Sullivan, Scott head coach. “They always play hard so they pick up a lot of balls. We really had to focus on swinging hard and making them make plays. We started off the game tipping, tipping, tipping. Once we started swinging, that’s when we started scoring.”
Scott had 31 kills, 30 assists, 33 digs, four aces, 10 solo and four assisted blocks. Sophomore Milyn Minor led the Eagles with 15 kills, two blocks and seven digs and junior Brooklyn Helm had eight kills, two aces and six digs. Morgan Justice and Brooke Balsley helped the Eagles control the net with four kills each. Justice had seven solo and two assisted blocks with Payton Grigsby adding one solo and one assisted block and Balsley one solo block.
Libero Elise Manhardt led the Eagles with nine digs with Justice and Payton Grigsby adding four each. Sophomore setter Ryann Grigsby had all 30 Scott assists.
“We’ve gotten better. In the beginning, we started off rough,” Ryann Grigsby said. “It honestly takes a lot of practice. I’m honestly glad (the Scott hitters) can adjust to the sets because they’re not always going to be perfect.”
Brossart dug up 77 balls trying to keep rallies going. But the Mustangs had just 24 kills, 24 assists, three solo and two assisted blocks to go with four aces. Maddie Kremer led Brossart with 24 digs and setter Aubrey Rebholz recording 17 assists and nine digs. Kate Neltner recorded 17 digs to go with her team-high seven kills. Josie Reckner had 10 digs and two aces. Payton Parker had five kills with Callie Ritter recording four kills and three solo blocks.
“Our defense was on point all night. We struggled a bit on offense,” said Danielle French, Brossart head coach. “We were sending free ball over, sending tips over, sending rolls over. We were just not attacking like we usually do. They had control of the game the majority of the three sets.”
Scott made an error on the first serve of the game but scored the next four points and never trailed in the first game. Justice served an ace to give the Eagles game point and Helm ended it with a kill.
“We have to serve aggressively and make sure we’re in system as much as we can be,” Sullivan said. “They’re aggressive and they put the ball in play so we have to make sure that we’re moving our feet, reading their hitters and just doing our jobs.”
Brossart started stronger in the second game going up 4-1 on a Neltner kill. But Justice helped the Eagles come back with two kills in a 5-0 run. Parker tied it at nine with a kill before Scott ran off four in a row on two Helm aces to go up 14-9. Brossart responded with four straight to cut the lead to 14-13 before the Eagles pulled away. Helm had two kills to end the game.
“Before the game even started, I told the girls that they needed to cover the line because (Minor) hits line every single time,” French said. “There were times where we didn’t have the coverage there and she killed us there.”
The Mustangs had another strong start in the third game going up 6-1 when Jessica Keller landed an ace and Rebholz had a kill on a setter dump. But the Eagles came back once again. Down 16-14, Scott used a 4-0 run on a Helm kill and three Brossart errors to go up for good at 18-16. Justice ended the game with a kill.
“It’s definitely a boost of confidence having a win in three, especially with the way the third game started,” Balsley said. “It was harder. But we’re a close-knit team. We pick each other up when we’re down. I think that’s really important that we don’t let mistakes affect us. We trust each other.”
Scott travels to Ryle (14-9) on Monday for a 5:30 p.m. game. Brossart plays host to Bellevue (8-7) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Eagles can wrap up the No. 1 seed in the 37th with wins over Campbell County on Sept. 27 and Calvary Christian the following day on the 28th. Brossart has an uphill battle to get the top spot now. They’ll need help from Campbell and Calvary while needing to knock off the two, facing Calvary Christian on Oct. 3 and Campbell County on Oct. 5.