More than a tournament title was at stake for Rock Bridge in Saturday afternoon’s championship game against Warrenton.
“We just knew we had to win it,” Bruins senior Ashley Selby said. “We had to keep our trophy here. (Coach Vicki Reimler) never really said it, like we didn’t go out to see the trophy case this year, but we knew we had to do it.”
Despite skipping the traditional visit to see the trophy case, the Bruins will add to it. Rock Bridge won its annual volleyball tournament for the third straight season, defeating the Warriors 25-21, 25-23.
Resiliency is quickly becoming a characteristic of Reimler’s team. With two wins in the tournament and a pair of two-game splits, Rock Bridge snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 3-3-2.
The Bruins were forced to come from behind in the championship as well, for they trailed 20-16 in the second game. Rock Bridge then rallied and senior Katie Marler’s three kills put Rock Bridge in the lead 23-22. Ashley Stanfill finished it off for the Bruins with two more kills.
Rock Bridge benefited from a height advantage up front with Stanfill and senior Ashley Schulte. On one play during the second game, Schulte reached her hands above her head and, without leaving the floor, blocked the ball over the net for a point.
“I think there at the end it was crucial,” Reimler said. “There were some (balls) that just came right back to us, and we were able to block them back down at them. It’s huge to have that height advantage.”
Playing with a 17-9 lead in the first game, the Bruins allowed Warrenton to creep back. After the Warriors closed the gap to 20-18, junior Corey Dunne’s spike seemed to shift the momentum back towards the Bruins. Selby put Rock Bridge up 23-18 when she dropped the ball among three Warriors after a fake pass.
The Bruins seemed to draw off senior Amy Oakes’ energetic play, after playing in four matches before the championship.
Said junior Katie Payne: “Amy is incredibly good. She will go all the way from the left side all the way to the right side to dig up that ball.”
Rock Bridge split with Warrenton in the round-robin portion of the tournament 25-10, 22-25, and the Bruins focused on settling down after that match.
“I really felt that all the points that they got were basically off our errors,” Reimler said. “I just felt that so many times it was a missed serve here and there, or just a missed play of some sort that fed them some energy. We just talked about making sure we were controlling play. At one point I just had to tell them to just relax.”