Bulldogs rally to beat Bearcats in District B-6 tourney
     2012-11-01      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo Freshman Bulldog Allie Boggs (No. 3) prepares for a volley, while teammates from left, juniors Brooke Vowers (No. 33) and Katie O’Boyle (No. 13) prepare for the set up and kill during a September match against Scottsbluff. The Bulldogs ended their season Tuesday night with a 25-19, 25-11, 25-19 defeat by Sidney in semifinals. 
Gering's season ended by top-seeded Sidney in semifinals

Gering and Scottsbluff may have had down seasons on the volleyball court this fall, but that factor and their resulting low seeds for the five-team District B-6 tournament took nothing away from a classic match at the Perkins County High School gymnasium in Grant.
Although irrelevant, Gering was the better seed at No. 4, and the Bulldogs had defeated the Bearcats three times this season — all in best-of-3 tournament action. Scottsbluff, meanwhile, owned wins in both the teams’ best-of-5 dual matches.

And the Bearcats had a 2-1 set lead Tuesday night against a Gering team that had been off since the Bulldogs played in the Alliance Pilfold Tournament on Oct. 20.

Scottsbluff, which finished seventh in Saturday’s Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament in Columbus, won the first two sets Tuesday, overcame the Bulldogs’ 25-22, hard-fought first-set victory to rebound with 25-19 and 15-13 victories to sway the match and subsequent semifinal berth in its favor.

But after the Bearcats had taken an 11-9 lead in the fourth set, Gering began a 16-5 roll with five straight points to take the lead and ride the wave to a match-tying, 25-16 win.

And in a deciding fifth set tailor-made to epitomize the teams’ evenness this season and rock-solid arch-rivalry otherwise, the Bulldogs started with a 6-2 run, shook off a set-tying rally by Scottsbluff to finally take the set 15-12 on their third match point and ended the Bearcats’ season.

Gering’s reward was a berth in the semifinal match against No. 1 seeded Sidney, which had its own troubles at Gering on Oct. 16, losing the opening set to the Bulldogs before the Red Raiders scratched and clawed out a four-set victory.

With the Bulldogs having had to scratch and claw their way through a tough five-setter against Scottsbluff that totaled 197 points, the well-rested Red Raiders faced a still-feisty Gering team but erased an early Bulldog lead and in the end scored a 25-19, 25-11, 25-19 win.

The victory puts Sidney (24-6) into the district B-6 finals Thursday night at Bayard for the second straight year, but the Red Raiders — hard-luck losers in a marathon five-setter to Gering last year — will face No. 2 seeded Alliance as the favorite this time around.
The Bulldogs (17-13) advanced to the championship match -- and earned both themselves and Sidney a shorter trip to the district finale -- by ousting No. 3 seed McCook in straight sets, 25-15, 25-16, 25-12.

Although the natural Twin Cities arch-rivalry was displaced by more than 140 miles, the intensity followed the teams to Perkins County and was evident in the first set, when after Gering took a 10-5 lead, Scottsbluff rallied to tie. The Bulldogs responded with a 7-1 run begun with five unanswered points, but that 17-11 lead was erased when Scottsbluff scored five straight points to forge a 19-all tie.

Gering then scored three straight points, and the Bearcats matched with three unanswered points to knot the score at 22-all. Gering finished the set with three unanswered points to take the 25-22 set victory and a 1-0 match lead.

Scottsbluff the second set with six straight points and a 14-1 lead, and the Bearcats extended that lead to 20-6 before Gering answered with a 13-5 swing. But the run wasn't enough, and Scottsbluff tied the match with the 25-19 win.

The Bearcats trailed the third set 6-5 before going on a seven-point flurry for a 12-6 lead. Scottsbluff extended its lead to 19-10 and 22-11 before claiming the third set and a 2-1 advantage with the 25-13 set win.

Gering opened the fourth set with a 7-3 lead, only to have the Bearcats tied the score at 7-all and overtake the Bulldogs with a short-lived 11-9 lead in building hopes of ending the match in four games.

But Gering scored five straight points that grew to leads of 20-13 and 22-14 before the Bulldogs won 25-16 and forced a winner-take-all fifth set.

Gering's early four-point lead, matched when the Bulldogs scored four straight for a 14-10 advantage, was the largest by either team in the deciding set. after Scottsbluff fended off the first two match points, a kill by Gering junior Savannah Walker ended the match and the Bearcats' season at 10-25.

In the Bulldogs' semifinal match against Sidney, Gering (9-25) struck first with a 6-1 lead. The Red Raiders then caught the Bulldogs at 8-all and then followed a Gering point with seven straight for a 15-9 lead.

Sidney then extended its advantage to 19-11 and 23-14 before the Bulldogs fought back to within five at 24-19. But a Gering error gave the Red Raiders the set at 25-19 and a 1-0 lead.
The second set featured more runs by Sidney, which jumped out to a 13-6 lead. The Raiders then grew the lead to double digits at 19-8 and finished by outscoring the Bulldogs 6-3 for the dominating 25-11 win and a 2-0 set lead.

Gering opened the third set with an 8-3 run, but a 10-1 flurry put the Red Raiders ahead 13-9. The Bulldogs scored five straight points for a 14-13 edge, and the teams remained close to one another until Sidney started building on an 18-17 lead.

The Raiders led 20-17, then 22-18 and finally 25-19 to win the match in three sets and secure their 13th consecutive victory.
Statistics and comments from Gering coach Craig Schadwinkel were not available Tuesday night.

Scottsbluff's final match of the season featured 17 kills junior Makayla Castro, 36 set assists by senior Connor Ehler, nine kills and two service aces by senior Brayden Auer, seven kills and three aces by junior Kiley Guerue, seven kills by freshman Chesney Walker, six kills and one ace by senior Alexus Pinedo and an ace by senior Lauren Miller.

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