Deja vu all over?
Class A. No. 1 Barr-Reeve owned one come from behind win against No. 3 Loogootee in volleyball this fall. The Vikings fell behind Loogootee two sets to none before a rally lifted Barr-Reeve to a 3-2 volleyball win at Jack Butcher Arena earlier this season.
The Lions and Vikings appeared prepared for a trip down memory lane Saturday in the sectional championship after Loogootee won the opening two sets by identical 25-19 scores only to see the Vikings take the third, 25-17.
But that was before Loogootee’s Demi Richardson opened the fourth set with nine consecutive service points, leading the Lions to a 25-20 fourth set and second consecutive Class A sectional championship.
“When you have two quality teams like this, it’s hard for anyone to beat a team twice in a season,” Loogootee coach Lacey Wade said. “After losing in the season, we knew what we had to work on.”
Loogootee led 11-9 in the opener, but neither team enjoyed a larger advantage until the Lions broke away from an 18-all tie. The Lions scored five consecutive points before Barr-Reeve stopped the string.
The teams were again tied in the second set at 12, 13 and 14 with Barr-Reeve holding one-point leads. The Vikings held a 16-14 lead before the Lions tied at 16.
Barr-Reeve took a 17-16 lead, but that was its last. The Lions reeled off eight of the next 10 points for the second straight 25-19 final.
“When we run our offense, there’s not a whole lot of people who can stop us,” Wade said. “We were able to put them on the defense, and when we can run our offense, we can do some good things.”
Both first sets ended in the same score, and both had ties at 17.
“When you are scratching and clawing to come back there are a lot of things that takes play,” Barr-Reeve coach Amber DeCoursey said. “I thought there were some things we did very well. Some of our decision making wasn’t the best, and when they set their middles. I thought we missed some opportunities in the first two sets at points 17.”
Loogootee appeared to be on the verge of making it three straight, scoring eight of the first 10 points in the third set. But the Vikings rallied for a 14-10 lead, gaining 12 of the next 16 counters.
And while the Lions stayed close, Barr-Reeve led late 18-17, it was the Vikings who got the critical set-ending points to win 25-17.
“That third game, they (Barr-Reeve) really picked up what we were doing,” Wade said. “They definitely made us play defense in the third set. We had to make some switches for the fourth game. We were able to mix the ball around, and that’s what we had to do to win the fourth.”
Barr-Reeve tried to rally in the fourth set after dropping the first nine points. Richardson’s serves proved hard to return, although at 5-0 one clipped the net to fall between Viking defenders.
“Demi is one of our best serves,” Wade said. “She knows how to mix the ball around, and the thing is I don’t have to tell her where to serve. She knows exactly where to go. She just does her thing.”
Barr-Reeve scored three points, then added nine of the next 14 to cut the gap to 14-12. But that was as close as the Vikings would come the rest of the way.
Loogootee again stretched the lead to 21-15 and 23-18 before gaining the 25-20 final.
“We made a good run and got it back to within two or three, but still, nine points are too many to give up,” DeCoursey said.
“We talked about the comeback in the regular season,” Wade said between the second and third sets. “After talking to the girls, I felt they weren’t going to let that happen again.”
“We had blocked better during the season, and,” DeCoursey said. “Our defense was in some tough positions when our blockers were not in position. I think we just got out to some slow starts in the tournament. Our entire season, people enjoyed watching our team because the girls never quit. We were able to overcome deficits in the regular season. We weren’t able to overcome that deficit against a quality team like Loogootee.”
DeCoursey also had kind words for seniors Cori Cummings and Tanisha Graber.
“They have been a huge part of this program,” DeCoursey said. “I can’t thank them enough for what they have given to this program. They have been great seniors and have given us great leadership this season.”
“When you have two quality teams like this, it’s hard for anyone to beat a team twice in a season,” Wade said. “After losing in the season, we knew what we had to work on.”
The Lions now play Northeast Dubois at Dubois at 7 p.m. today for the regional championship. The semistate is a four-team, three-match, event at Butcher this Saturday.
Loogootee heads to Dubois today
Deja vu all over?
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