Jeeps go the distance, fall in home openerAugust 26, 2019
By JONATHAN SAXON
DUBOIS — There was a clash of titans Monday night, as the Northeast Dubois Jeeps played host to the Tecumseh Braves in their home opener.
The Jeeps were down a few players, but that didn’t stop them from taking to the floor with the intent of giving the Braves all they could handle.
For five sets they battled as hard as they could, but in the end, the Braves outlasted and defeated the Jeeps 17-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-20, 15-7.
Jeeps (1-3) coach Misty Smith was proud of the way her team fought, despite the loss, and she believes the match was one of those early-season fires that only forges a stronger team down the line.
“We can’t be sad about anything,” Smith said. “They impressed me and themselves. We went in fighting, but we were going to go with whatever we could get. They fought their hardest.”
The Jeeps were able to start hot in the first set, as they got out to a 10-2 lead on the Braves (3-0). The Braves tried to use a combination of Jeeps errors and aggressive net play from middle hitters Chloe Holder and Kaybree Oxley to get their offense established. But their shots were answered by Taylor Dodd, Kayleigh VanPelt and Brinley Royer.
The Braves also committed a number of errors, which prevented their hitters from getting into rhythm. But they kept fighting through it as they managed to get within five kills of the Jeeps late into the set. However, the Jeeps were able to keep their composure, and rode Dodd and senior setter Chloe Terwiske to a 5-2 run to win the first set.
The Braves came back in the next set with a vengeance.
Junior outside hitter Lauren Brammeier and senior setter Camryn Boylls were able to power a 5-2 start, but the Jeeps were able to fight their way back and tie the set at 9.
The Jeeps then built a two-point lead before freshman right setter Jaylin Boger came on strong and tied it up at 13.
The two teams then traded kills for the next few minutes as the scores climbed higher, eventually coming to another deadlock at 21.
But the combined talents of Emma and Chloe Holder allowed the Braves to come away with the final four kills to tie the match at one set apiece.
The Jeeps were able to get the benefit of another fast start to begin the third set, as Dodd, freshman middle hitter Regan Knies and a host of out of bounds hits from the Braves contributed to a 9-3 lead. The Braves tried to put together a rally to hang in at the top of the set, but Dodd, Knies and Royer were always there to answer every kill with one of their own.
The Jeeps went on a four-kill run toward the middle of the set, which solidified their lead, and they never allowed the Braves to make up the distance, as they won the third set 25-19 to take a 2-1 lead for the match.
However, the fourth set is when the team started to wear down.
Royer and Terwiske scored two quick kills to power a 4-1 start, but the Braves came back with seven straight kills to seize the momentum of the match.
The Braves were able to take advantage of Brammeier and errors as they built their lead, but Dodd and Royer provided the spark that helped the Jeeps fight back to take a 12-11 lead.
The Braves were able to rebound from the Jeeps’ rally, and scored seven straight kills, to which the Jeeps answered with four more to keep within striking distance.
The Jeeps fought their way to within two kills of the Braves, but their rallying efforts ran out of steam, and Tecumseh finished the fourth set on a 4-1 run to even the match, 2-2.
The Jeeps’ legs finally gave out in the fifth set.
The Braves jumped out to a 6-3 lead, even as Terwiske and Knies did their best to keep up with Tecumseh’s scoring. Dodd was able to get the Jeeps within two kills of tying the set, but the Braves pulled away shortly after that.
Steady doses of Brammeier, Boger, Ashtyn Green and Chloe Holder down the stretch finally allowed the Braves to close out the Jeeps 15-7 in the final set.
Dodd led the Jeeps with 15 kills, Royer had eight and Terwiske finished with six along with 32 assists. Dodd also had 17 digs and two blocks. Junior libero Mia Smith led the team with 25 digs.
“We came out swinging, which was Step One of what we needed to do,” said Terwiske, who felt that the team had to push back against some doubts in the wake of some early injury woes the team has endured. “We didn’t come out with a win, but we came out here and executed our plan. We did a lot more tonight than we thought we could with such a small team.”
Smith said the match showed her some defensive holes the team can work on as the Jeeps get ready for their next match against North Knox on Thursday. She also thinks the team can learn to use their middle hitters better during the course of a match. But all in all, she was happy with the way the team competed on Monday. She sees the Braves’ match as the kind of outing that will only help the Jeeps grow stronger as the season progresses.
“Tecumseh is the second-toughest team on our schedule,” she said. “And to play them in five (sets), we’re happy about making it to five. We’ve listed a couple of things we’re going to work on tomorrow, but this is an awesome home opener for us.”
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