There was no ceremony to honor Rock Bridge coach Vicki Reimler before her final home game Monday. There wasn’t a video tribute, or a fireworks show, or anything of the sort.
Instead, the Bruins found an even better parting gift for their coach — a 25-21, 13-25, 25-23 win against the Versailles Lady Tigers.
Rock Bridge, which improved to 9-13-3, has won three of their last four. The Lady Tigers fell to 10-13-5.
Reimler, the Bruins volleyball coach since 1982, will step down from her coaching duties after the season and concentrate on her responsibilities as athletic director. She insisted before the game that the focus should be on the seniors playing their final home game.
“I’m looking forward to it more because it’s the senior night,” she said. “I think that that would just be so important to them as they look back on their senior year to know that they won their senior night match. That’s much more important to me at this point in time than my final match.”
In the end, though, the Bruins said they wanted to win it for Reimler.
“It was pretty special,” middle hitter Ashley Schulte said. “It wasn’t about us anymore, it was about her and doing what she asked of us and really trying to do what she’s wanted from us all season. It was a pretty emotional game.”
Rock Bridge didn’t make it look easy. For the second match in a row, the Bruins seemed to have all the momentum on their side in Game 1 only to watch it slip away in Game 2.
“I thought we played so well in Game 1 and then unfortunately sort of fell apart in Game 2,” Reimler said. “And then we just found a way to really work through it in Game 3. I’m so proud of them because that’s a sign of some maturity.”
The Bruins came out strong in Game 3, building a 24-18 lead after a Schulte kill. With the game seemingly wrapped up, though, things began to get ugly for Rock Bridge. Katie Bolton’s kill made it 24-19, and it was 24-22 when Reimler called a time-out to try and settle things down.
“(We talked about) how we just needed to go back to basics,” setter Ashley Selby said. “Don’t try to do everything at once. Go back to the basics: pass, set, hit.”
Things didn’t get much better out of the time-out as Ashley Yeager’s ace cut it to 24-23. The match finally ended when Bolton missed the ball on an attack.
“We just like suspense, what can I say,” Schulte said.
Defensive specialist Amy Oakes, a senior, spent much of her final home game on the floor making digs. She saved several balls that would have otherwise gone for kills.
Schulte tied junior Ashley Stanfill for a team-leading nine kills, and Selby finished with 13 assists. Bolton had a game-high 10 kills.
The Bruins appear to be playing their best volleyball of the season, and with the district playoffs set to begin on Oct. 27 against Jefferson City, that’s good news for Reimler.
“They always say ‘peak at the right time,’ and we certainly have been playing better of late,” she said.