2017-11-16 / Sports

Patriots fall in Quarterfinals

By: Mike Gallagher
Sports Reporter - mgallagher@mihomepaper.com


The USA Patriots celebrate a point in during their sweep of Brown City in the Class C regional final. 
Photo by Mike Gallagher The USA Patriots celebrate a point in during their sweep of Brown City in the Class C regional final. Photo by Mike Gallagher WEST BLOOMFIELD - The USA volleyball run came to an end Tuesday night, as they fell to St. Catherine Academy in three sets, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23.

The difference in the game, according to Patriots head coach Theresa Rose, was the middle hitter for St. Catherine, Emma Schlagheck.

“They had too many guns for us,” said Rose. “Their right side (hitter) could put the ball away, and we couldn’t defend it. She could get over our blocks, which we’re not used to.”

Schlagheck finished the match with 18 kills.

While the final scores of each set were exactly the same, the sets couldn’t have been any different.

In the first set, the two teams traded points, and it was tied 11-11 early in the set. Five straight points by USA gave them a 16-11 lead, and their lead would grow to 18-12, before St. Catherine started their comeback. St. Catherine scored seven of the next eight points to tie the set, 19-19, before pulling away in the end of the set.


Patriots’ libero Katelyn Englehardt prepares to serve against St. Catherine Academy as the USA student section looks on. (photo by: Mike Gallagher) Patriots’ libero Katelyn Englehardt prepares to serve against St. Catherine Academy as the USA student section looks on. (photo by: Mike Gallagher) “We just got a little bit ahead, and I think we got a little too self-confident,” said Rose. “They just kept pounding it, and chipped away at the lead and ended up taking it back from us and put the game away.”

In the second set, the Patriots fell into a 10-0 deficit, and at one point trailed 19-12 but did a bit of their own pounding and chipping, scoring eight of nine points late in the set, getting it as close as 21-20, but could not come all the way back.

“This is a young group and they were fighting hard,” Rose said of the second set. “They didn’t want their season to end, and they were really hoping to get to Battle Creek.”

The third set saw the two teams tied 11 times, and St. Catherine’s biggest lead was only three points, but the Patriots led the set only once, when the score was 14-13. The set was tied late, at 19-19, then 22-22, and again at 23-23, but St. Catherine sealed the quarterfinal victory with the final two points in the match.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Rose. “They’ve worked hard, and nobody thought we were going to be here.”

Rylee Zimmer led USA with 20 kills, 14 assists, and five blocks.

The loss ends the season for USA, as the Patriots finish with a 39-12-6 record. The loss also ends the careers of four Patriot seniors, Megan Gremel, Katelyn Englehardt, Mya Atkari, and Lexy Neal.

“Our seniors were great,” Rose said. “All of them did a great job for us, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Like I said we’re a young team this year and hopefully that means good things in the future for us. Nobody thought we were even going to get past Cass City this year, so for us to make it to the quarterfinals, I’m extremely proud.”

REGIONAL FINAL

BAD AXE - The Patriots made quick work of Brown City in the Class C regional championship, last Thursday, as they swept the Green Devils, 25-16, 25-18, 25-16. The game was a matchup of the regular season Greater Thumb West and East champions.

“Brown City is a great team,” said Rose. “We’re just playing good volleyball right now”

The first set was a back and forth battle, that the Patriots eventually won.

The second set was close as well, as it was tied 11-11, but the Patriots made a run, scoring six of the next seven points, giving them the advantage late in the set.

The third set was dominated by USA, as they raced out to a 7-3 lead forcing a Brown City timeout. The stoppage in play didn’t slow down the Patriots though, as they extended their lead to 13-3 after the Green Devil timeout. Their lead would grow to 19-9, before Brown City started to chip away at the USA lead, but it was too late, as the Patriots won the set, and their first regional title since 2014.

Rylee Zimmer led the Patriots with a 28 kill performance. Nicole Schember had 25 assists and two digs, Katelyn Englehardt had 29 digs, and Mya Atkari had six blocks.

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