When Kadie Marler goes back to serve, she holds the ball out in her right hand, gives it a hard slap with her left, pauses, cocks back and lets fly.
“That’s just how we got taught,” she said. “Slap the ball until I get good hand contact so it can get off. I don’t know, it’s just what I do.”
Timely serving from several Rock Bridge players, including Marler and Amy Oakes, both seniors, helped the Bruins earn a 25-13, 22-25, 25-10 victory against Blair Oaks on Thursday night at Rock Bridge.
The Bruins improved to 8-13-3 and the Lady Falcons dropped to 7-13. It was the Bruins’ second win in three games.
Marler said she isn’t trying to intimidate anyone with the slap.
“No, not at all.” she said. “It’s just for my benefit. I need to see that I get contact when I throw it up and I toss it and hit it.”
Even if they weren’t intimidated, the Lady Falcons had all kinds of trouble when a Bruins’ player stepped behind the service line, particularly in the third game when Rock Bridge had seven service aces. Oakes opened the game with seven straight points and three aces and finished with five aces.
The Bruins put up another impressive number in the game: zero. They had no service errors after committing seven in the first two games.
Rock Bridge had a chance to sweep the match, but the Lady Falcons recovered from a 22-19 deficit in the second game. Blair Oaks scored the last six points.
It was a surprising loss considering Rock Bridge seemed to have the momentum on its side after a slow start. After falling behind 14-11, senior Ashley Schulte’s kill got the Bruins going, and senior Amanda Selby served five straight to put the Bruins ahead 16-14.
The letdown in the second game was much easier to forget after the Bruins won the third.
“I think it was us,” Marler said. “Coach was like, ‘Have fun.’ And second game, we were just getting down and the third game we went out there and we were like, ‘We’re gonna have fun, and we’re gonna do this.’ It was a complete turnaround.”
Schulte led Rock Bridge with seven kills. Senior Taran Eckenrode had 11 assists. Marler had six kills and two aces.
Bruins coach Vicki Reimler said she was pleased with the way her team bounced back from the loss in the second game.
“Sometimes I think we’re a little too hesitant, instead of being confident in making a play,” she said. “Sometimes we’re a little hesitant and that causes us to be off a little bit. I think maybe we got a little confidence by getting that lead, and maybe we lost our focus for just a little bit.”
The Bruins have let several games slip away this season because they have struggled to stay focused in close matches. That wasn’t the case Thursday.
“Blair Oaks wasn’t going to roll over and play dead for us,” Reimler said. “We had to play. We wanted them to have fun but we also wanted them to stay focused on what they needed to do, and they did a good job of doing that.”