GILBERTVILLE — The record will show that Don Bosco swept Valley Lutheran Tuesday night in their Class 1A regional volleyball match-up.
On the floor, it was anything but a clean sweep as the Dons (14-13) held off the Crusaders (8-17) in a hard-fought 25-18, 25-10, 25-22 victory.
After the Dons claimed the first two sets and seemingly had all the momentum, both squads battled back-and-forth throughout the third set with neither team building more than a five-point margin.
The Dons grabbed an 8-4 lead, but Crusaders seniors Geneva Basye and Alexis Kapanka boomed two kills in a row to close the deficit to 8-6. After a couple misfires by the Dons and a soft tap-over by setter Susan Hecker, the Crusaders owned a 12-10 lead and expanded it to 15-10 before the Dons’ Maddie Huff blew through a block to stop the run.
“They made blocks very well and they were making their shots,” Dons coach Abby Breitbach said of the Crusaders’ scrappy style of play. “They knew that this third set was now or never for them and they put up a fight.
“They got up a little bit and we called a timeout and got down on our girls a little bit.”
Whatever was said was enough to build a fire as the Dons went on a 7-2 run to tie the set at 17 each. Then Valley Lutheran caught fire again and went up 21-17.
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“We lost momentum again, and this sport, more than any other, is about momentum,” Breitbach said. “We hold our girls to a higher standard and we have mentally challenged them a little more each year.
“They knew it was time and it says a lot about our junior group on how they played. They know what it is like to be in this tough environment and they wanted it. They want that green banner for state.”
Junior outside hitter Kindra Welter took control at the net, nailing three of her 11 kills down the stretch. Her final blast completed the Dons’ rally for a 25-22 victory.
“We never really panicked out there when they came back in that third set,” Welter said. “We trust each other so much on the floor and we knew that it was go time. I really felt like I wanted the ball and I was not going to let us lose.”
The Crusaders’ rally fell short, but head coach Len Brokenshire applauded his team’s effort.
“These girls really believed that they could win tonight,” Brokenshire said. “They really believe in themselves and they showed tonight that there is no quit in them.”