Some nights, even a team’s best effort isn’t enough.
That was the case on Monday night at Rock Bridge as defending state volleyball champion and perennial powerhouse Hermann rolled to a 25-17, 25-18 victory against the Bruins.
The Bearcats have won three consecutive Missouri Class 2 championships.
“Hermann is such a solid program, year in and year out,” Bruins coach Vicki Reimler said. “They’re state contenders, and they’ve won several state championships. Tonight, I would say that we played well but we were beaten by the better team.”
The Bruins (3-4-2) entered hoping to build off momentum they had gained after winning this weekend’s Rock Bridge Tournament, but from the onset it was clear that Hermann (5-4) had other ideas. The Bearcats jumped out to a 17-12 lead in the first game thanks to the serving of junior Chelsea Baumstark, who served four points, including an ace, as the Bearcats built the lead.
The Bruins climbed back, closing the gap to 19-17 before Hermann pulled away. Bearcats senior Andrea Robertson served four points and junior Andrea Hart had a big kill to seal it.
“We would get going and we’d have our big hits,” senior Amy Oakes said. “But then, once they got set up, they would just smack it right back down at us. And I just don’t think we were ready to get those big hits that were so low and hard.”
Hermann’s aggressive play continued to overwhelm the Bruins in the second game, although Rock Bridge kept it close. After falling behind 17-11, senior Kelsey Wilkinson’s kill seemed to get Rock Bridge moving. Rock Bridge chipped away at the Hermann lead, closing to 19-18 on Kadie Marler’s spike. Once again, though, the Bearcats refused to budge, using a 6-0 run to end the match.
“We were thinking (Sunday) that if we had the same momentum we had (in the tournament), nobody can beat us,” senior Ashley Selby said. “We just couldn’t get that momentum back again.”
The Bearcats’ aggressive play had to impress the Bruins, in particular the aggressive play of Robertson. Reimler said she was pleased by the way her team didn’t back down from one of the state’s top players.
“She is just so tough,” Reimler said. “I was just really proud. The girls really were not intimidated by her. She did a lot of things really well, as did their whole team.”
Heading into Tuesday’s game at Fulton, the Bruins are hoping some of the momentum gained over the weekend remains after the loss.
“I think they’re holding onto that,” Reimler said. “I think the girls know how well they played. And one of the things I tell them is ‘this one’s over, lets look to the next one.’ I think we’ll carry some of that momentum for a while.”