DALEVILLE, Ind. — Earlier in the season, the Daleville volleyball team dispatched Seton Catholic in four close sets.
Oh, how things can change, especially when recent history means nothing in the postseason. With a regional title on the line, Seton returned the favor.
Seton defeated Daleville 25-23, 24-26, 25-16, 25-21, sending Seton to semistate on Saturday.
“Errors, we made so many errors,” Daleville coach Beth Etchison said. “We knew how solid Seton was on defense, we knew their game plan was going to be to outlast us, make sure they got the ball back on our side and wait for a mistake.”
The plan worked, as the Broncos made mistake after mistake while the Cardinals just watched and waited.
After two straight aces for Daleville’s Zannah Weber opened the match, Seton rattled off an 11-2 run. Daleville rallied to take a 19-17 lead off a kill from Breanna Townsend, but a combination of service errors and attack errors, along with a serving run from Seton’s Megan Schroeder that sent volleyballs spiraling every way except to the net, allowed Seton to take the first set 25-23.
“Usually, we rely on letting them beat themselves,” Seton coach Jennifer Martin said. “We tried to be a bit more aggressive this time, knowing how good their servers are.”
The Cardinals continued flexing their muscles in the second set, jumping out to a 15-8 lead utilizing the offense provided from Julia Reichley and Sarah Dickman, forcing the Broncos’ second timeout of the set. Daleville responded with a 6-0 run, highlighted by two consecutive aces from Townsend. With the set tied at 24, Townsend found the back-center of the court for a kill, followed by a tip over the net by Weber to give Daleville the set win. Lindsey Ingenito led Daleville with 21 kills.
The more Townsend pressed, the more erratic she became. One of the best hitters on the team, each attack she landed was followed by an error or was dug by Seton, never allowing Daleville to get into a rhythm. For every Bronco run, the Cardinals had an answer, usually in the form of a kill from Reichley or Dickman. Reichley led the Cardinals with 12 kills on the night.
After taking the third set, Seton jumped out to a 6-2 lead to open the final set. Although the Cardinals’ serving continued to make passing difficult for the Broncos, Daleville players continuously put seemingly easy attempts at kills straight into the net. With Seton leading 24-21, Daleville sent one last attack sailing several feet out-of-bounds, ending the match on an attack error that was a common occurrence.
“The entire time I’ve been here, we’ve never beaten Daleville,” Martin said. “I told my players that it was going to be a dogfight all night, and it was.”
Contact prep sports reporter David Polaski at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidPolaskiTSP.