Brandon Valley was in control from the start in its 4-set opening-round victory over Roosevelt. The No. 3 seeded Lynx had an early hiccup, but dominated in an 18-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-20 victory. After the opening set loss, it was all Brandon Valley, but Lynx (19-4) head coach Lindsey Smith wasn’t impressed.
“Our serve receive wasn’t very good tonight. Our defense wasn’t very good and our blocking defense wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be,” Smith said. “We pulled through, but we had way too many errors. I know we’re not playing to our potential.”
After the dismantling of Roosevelt (16-15), that comment should put the other three AA opponents on alert. After the opening set loss, Brandon Valley completely controlled the net and was never really threatened the rest of the night.
“I know we can pass better. I know we can block better,” Smith said. “We had 17 errors in the opening game. Game 2, when they only scored 15 points, we had 11 errors. I know we’re better.”
The Lynx are on a run right now, winners of five straight including an impressive five-set victory in the District 2AA championship over No. 2 seeded Harrisburg. Earlier in the season, Brandon Valley won a regular season match against Roosevelt, winning in four sets.
Hanna Jellema led the Lynx with 15 kills and Hannah Paauw added 13 Thursday night in the opening round. Taylor Thorson had 31 digs for the Lynx.
“Two weeks of practice is harsh. We are sick of practice,” Smith said of Brandon’s long downtime between district and state tournament play.”
Roosevelt came out the aggressor and an upset was brewing early on. The Riders led 20-13 in the opening set before Brandon Valley made a little run, but Roosevelt eventually won the opener 25-18.
“This is the first time for a lot of these girls and this program,” Smith said of the opening set loss. “Maybe it was nerves, but we had too many errors.”
But the upset bid took a blow in the second set as the Lynx controlled it from that point forward. Brandon Valley came out swinging in the second set, literally. Paauw and Jellema opened the set with back-to-back booming kills, and the Riders were on its heels.
BV increased the lead to 11-4 in the set and had a pair of eye-openers during the run. Up 6-2, Brandon’s Becca Koehn made a great save, going nearly 10-feet outside the sideline to keep the ball alive. The Lynx went on to win the point, which seemed to ultimately give them a ton of momentum to finish out the set.
To Roosevelt’s credit, the Riders finally dug in in the second set, cutting it to 16-14, but the Lynx were too much. Leading 20-15, Elise Zajicek had a solid block. She followed it up moments later with a nice finesse tip to make it 21-15. The Lynx cruised from there to tie it at 1-1.
In the fourth set, Roosevelt held a quick 4-3 lead. They stayed close, and a wicked cross-court kill from Kaylor Ragels tied it at 8-8. Ragels led the Riders with 11 kills while Rylie Kooima was on her heels all night with 34 digs.