Trailing 19-4 in the fourth set of a regional quarterfinal did not rattle the Bishop Verot volleyball team. Frustrate a little, but not rattle.
Instead, the Vikings came back with a 15-6 win in the fifth set, securing a 3-2 match victory over Saint Andrews of Boca Raton in a regional quarterfinal at Bishop John J. Nevins Gymnasium Tuesday night.
“Our girls play with a lot of maturity, a lot of poise, a lot of just confidence,” Bishop Verot coach Wynn DePasquale said. “So many of them have played this game for so many years that they really don’t get rattled.”
The win sends the Vikings (15-11) to a rematch with District 4A-11 foe LaBelle in the regional semifinals. The Cowgirls gave Verot a similar five-set match in the district title game last Thursday.
It was how the Vikings played the rest of the fourth set that set the tone for the fifth. The Vikings’ serves became more productive, as four aces — including two straight by Emily Hudson — turned what was nearly a 20-point humiliation into a more respectable 10-point loss in the fourth set. More importantly, the Vikings had found their game again heading into set No. 5.
“We kind of won the last third of that set,” DePasquale said. “And we took that momentum into the fifth set. Even though we lost the set, it was the momentum at the end of that set and the fight that they had that led them into the fifth set.”
With some key blocks from Lauren Shelley, the Vikings brought the fifth set to a 7-6 score before the offense took off. An 8-0 run ended with back-to-back aces served by libero Alena Hernandez and a strong kill by Malorie Fry to put an exclamation point on the match.
Fry was the statistical leader on the offensive side with 14 kills and six aces, as well as 19 digs to make it a double-double. But different players rose to different occasions through the evening.
“No one plays one good set each time,” Fry said. “Everyone is good at everything. The stats vary for everyone. We have a good team overall.”
Hernandez paced the defense with 35 kills and Lauren Homolka had another 10. Setter Ashlyn Brown put up 43 assists.
Verot had to fend off a few runs by Saint Andrews and come from behind twice in the first set. A 5-0 run that included three straight aces served by Malorie Fry gave the Vikings a 17-15 lead. They were able to hold off the Scots (20-8), winning the set 25-23.
Saint Andrews won the second set, 25-23, and took the lead early in the third. But defensive play overcame some offensive miscues, keeping the set close when the Verot attackers caught fire. Emily Hudson took charge of the set, blocking two attacks and killing two of her own during an 8-1 run. Verot won the set, 25-18.