Twin City volleyball hosts finish back in the pack: Losses leave Gering in 8th while Scottsbluff wins consolation pool; Mitchell wins Morrill tourney
     2012-10-05      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen Gering sophomore Leah Newman (No. 1) spikes the ball senior Katie O'Boyle(No. 13) and junior Brooke Vowers (No. 5) prepare for Ogallala’s defense from Sidney Mell (No. 7) and Jensen Geisert (No. 5) at last weekend’s Twin City Invite in Gering.  
After watching his Gering volleyball team lose five of its six matches in the Twin City Invitational Tournament over the weekend, Bulldog coach Craig Schadwinkel was frustrated.

And no one would have blamed the Bulldogs’ 28th-year head coach if he was even more beleaguered after watching his team Tuesday night take a two-set lead on Alliance in a dual at the Gering High School gym.

The visiting Bulldogs rallied back to take the match, 21-25, 19-25, 25-13, 26-24, 15-9 — Alliance’s third win over Gering in five days and fourth in as many matches this season.

“I can handle this because I felt the kids left it on the court,” Schadwinkel said. “We gave a gallant effort in the fourth set and just came up short again, but if they continue to build on this, there will be a lot of positives that come from it.”

The Bulldogs (5-17) finished the first set on a 6-2 run to take the 25-21 win and then held several leads of between six and eight points in winning Set 2, 25-19.

Alliance (10-9, including a 3-2 record in best-of-five matches) struck quickly in the third set, however, taking a 12-2 that grew to 20-8 before AHS won by 12 and cut Gering’s set lead to 2-1.

Alliance again jumped out quickly in Set 4, leading 8-1 and built that to 15-5 and 3ventually 23-13 before Gering got on a roll with an 11-1 rally off senior Santanna Mitchell’s serve to forge a tie at 24-all.

And Schadwinkel saw so many more positives from his Bulldogs’ effort than from the weekend.

“I think I saw a little fatigue in the third set and then we popped back around in the fourth set,” he said. “We just got done playing six really tough matches over the weekend with basically one day of rest and come back to play a tough five-set match.

“In the third set and again in the fifth set, we just kind of backed away from passing, and that’s something we’ve taken a lot of time with and we’ll just have to continue to stay with that.”

After Gering battled to take an early 7-5 lead in the decisive set, Alliance reeled off six unanswered points for an 11-7 lead, and the visiting Bulldogs finished on a 4-2 run to win the match.

“These guys have to just continue to believe in themselves and realize that they can get the job done,” said Schadwinkel, whose Bulldogs are 0-4 in best-of-five matches.

That record includes a Sept. 11, five-set loss at Scottsbluff in which Gering was two points away from sweeping the match in three sets before the Bearcats rallied to win that third set and subsequently the fourth and fifth games for the stunning victory.

The Bulldogs get Scottsbluff at the GHS gym on Oct. 11.

“But we’ve got to finish one of these matches like this so they know that they can, and then I think that confidence will be there. They have to keep their heads up and we just got to keep fighting,” Schadwinkel said.

“I’m just really proud of the kids that they didn’t fold in the fourth set and came back. They’re right there, but it’s so dang frustrating this year. We feel like we’re at the finish line and we’re losing the photo finish is kind of the way it has been in about 12 of our matches. But I can applaud their efforts and can be happy with that, and again I think it’s something they can build on at least for the future.”

Sophomore Kaila Borgman jumped into the starting lineup for classmate Kaylee Spreier, who is out for at least one week with an ankle injury, and Borgman had six blocks with two kills.

Junior Savannah Walker had 13 kills, five digs, three blocks and 2 services aces, while Mitchell made 11 kills with three digs, two blocks and one ace. Junior Katie O’Boyle had four blocks and one kill, while freshman Allie Boggs made four blocks, four assists, two kills and two aces.

Schadwinkel said Saturday, after watching his Bulldogs lose all three of its bracketed matches in the Twin City Invitational and finish eighth, that this is proving to be his most challenging.

The Bulldogs forced a third set against McCook in the seventh-place match at the GHS gymnasium and had several three-point leads in the deciding set, but numerous errors opened the door for the Bison to rally and take the match, 25-11, 22-25, 25-23.

“This is the hardest group I’ve had to figure out,” said Schadwinkel, whose team went 1-2 in Friday’s pool play — defeating Gordon-Rushville 25-18, 25-23 — to earn the eighth seed in the bracket action Saturday. “From one point to the next, I just sit here and take the ride. I have no clue what they are going to do.”

Friday’s win over Gordon-Rushville came after the Bulldogs had been edged by Alliance 25-21, 25-23 and beaten by Blue Pool winner Sidney 25-18, 25-10. The Blue Pool took place at the Gering High School gymnasium.

In defeating Gordon-Rushville, “I was really pleased with our sub Leah Newman,” Schadwinkel said of the sophomore. “I thought she came in and played the kind of volleyball that I’ve been asking the others to play.”

On Saturday in starting bracket play, Gering lost to Ogallala, the eventual runner-up, 25-12, 25-17 at Scottsbluff High School. The Bulldogs then moved back to the GHS gym and met up with Alliance again, and AHS earned another victory, 25-17, 25-23, in the consolation semifinals.

In tying McCook at a set apiece, Gering won six straight points that included two service aces by junior Kelsea Prieels, to take a 16-11 lead. The Bison went on a 6-1 run to forge a 17-all tie, but an ace by freshman Boggs and a kill by Mitchell, the Bulldogs’ lone senior, helped give Gering 21-18 lead.

The Bulldogs had four-point leads at 23-19 and 24-20 before a two-hand violation on McCook gave Gering the set and a deadlock in the match.

The Bulldogs and Bison traded six leads early in the final set and Gering built a 17-14 lead before McCook turned around by winning 10 of 13 points and led 24-20. the Bulldogs scored three straight points to pull within one before the Bison finished the set and match on a kill by 6-foot junior Kira Johnson.

“The aggressive team is always going to win. If we have an over-pass and we don’t put it down, then the game’s over,“ Schadwinkel said of the loss.

After Tuesday‘s dual, the Bulldogs will participate in the Western Conference Tournament at Alliance on Saturday.

Bearcats take
consolation bracket

On the north side of the river, Scottsbluff made the best of its opportunity in the Twin City tourney’s consolation round-robin action at Bluffs Middle School.

The Bearcats, who went winless on Friday and thus were relegated to the four-team consolation pool, defeated all three of their opponents and left second-year coach Megan Burda pleased with her team’s comeback.

“We just struggled (Friday) night, but we played some tough teams like Ogallala and Torrington,“ Burda said. “But we redeemed ourselves against Cheyenne South.”

Scottsbluff lost the White Pool opener at the SHS gym to Cheyenne South 25-23, 17-25, 25-12. The Bearcats then lost to Torrington 25-23, 15-16 and to Ogallala 25-9, 25-9.

On Saturday, Scottsbluff began its run through the consolation pool by beating Lexington 25-13, 25-13 and then avenged its Friday loss to Cheyenne South with a 25-16, 25-12 win. The Bearcats then completed its sweep by downing Gordon-Rushville 25-19, 25-21.

“The girls stepped up and that a credit to them,” said Burda whose team improved to 7-12 after Saturday’s sweep through the consolation pool. “We made some positive changes and really stepped up and played well today. I was very proud of them.”

Grand Island Northwest won the tournament’s championship with a 25-21, 25-21 win over Ogallala. Rapid City Stevens claimed third place over Sidney, 25-15, 25-22. Torrington finished as the fifth-place team by defeating Alliance 25-15, 25-22.

The Bearcats play undefeated Chadron at the SHS gym Thursday night before they and Gering play in the Western Conference Tournament on Saturday in Alliance. Scottsbluff then visits Gering on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Mitchell wins Morrill Invitational

MORRILL — The Mitchell Tigers emerged from a competitive field at the Morrill Invitational to take the championship with victories in all three of its matches.

The Tigers finished their run to the title by downing Sioux County 25-14, 25-14 in the championship match.

Bayard finished in third place with a 25-12, 25-16 win over Banner County. The Tigers opened play with a 25-11, 25-14 win over Guernsey-Sunrise before losing to Mitchell 26-24, 25-13 in the semifinals.

Morrill rebounded from a first-round loss to claim fifth place with a win over Crawford.

Guernsey-Sunrise came in seventh after defeating Minatare.

Mitchell (12-5) also scored a three-set sweep last Tuesday over Yoder-Southeast, snapping the Cyclones’ 15-match unbeaten streak.

The Tigers won the match 25-18, 25-14, 25-20.

Mitchell will be in the Western Conference Tournament in Alliance on Saturday.

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