Bobcats outlast Bravettes
The Bonner Springs and Basehor-Linwood high school volleyball teams added another chapter to their rivalry Tuesday, the first for new BLHS coach Tammy Zydlo.
In a match characterized by huge swings in emotion and momentum the Bobcats prevailed 25-23, 13-25, 25-16.
The match, played at Baldwin, was the last of three for both teams on the night. The Bravettes were coming off losses to Baldwin and Eudora, while the Lady Bobcats split the night's earlier matches, losing to Eudora, but beating Baldwin in two games. The victory over Baldwin gave the Lady 'Cats plenty of confidence and momentum and they rode it to a quick lead against the Bravettes.
Basehor-Linwood went up 8-1 on the strength of three kills by middle hitter Cassie Lombardino. In all three matches Tuesday the 6-foot-2 junior fired aggressively and with pace on her hits.
"I want her to hit different hits and not just the high ball to the center and she's embraced that," Zydlo said of Lombardino.
Basehor-Linwood led 10-2 when the match took its first big swing. A thunderous kill by Bonner Springs senior Ally Venerable seemed to spark the Bravettes, and they reeled off a 7-0 run to pull within 10-9.
The Lady Bobcats got back on track with setter Brooke Sanders finding last year's leading hitter, Chelsey Patton, for a couple momentum-changing kills. Basehor-Linwood extended its lead to 18-11, but everything changed once Bonner Springs junior Holly Luke began serving.
With Luke leading the way the Bravettes won the next nine points to go up 20-18, taking their first lead since 1-0. Everything seemed to click for the Bravettes during the run.
"It was our first rotation and everybody was comfortable and everyone was where they wanted to be," Luke said.
Luke started off the run with two aces and added another to break an 18-18 tie. She also had three more serves that the Bobcats got a hand on but couldn't return. As the junior nailed serve after serve it seemed to suck the energy out of BLHS and inject it right back into the Bravettes.
"If you get that wave going you stay pumped up and your team stays pumped up," Luke said.
But Lombardino helped swing the momentum back to BLHS by banging three kills off the floor, two of them off perfect sets from Sanders. After Sanders finished setting up Lombardino she passed one over to Michelle Chrisman, who fired home a kill for a 24-22 Basehor lead. The Bravettes got one more kill from Janee Ingenthron, but their next hit sailed out of bounds to give BLHS the game.
After winning the first game the Lady 'Cats had the edge, but the momentum swung again.
Bonner Springs jumped all over Basehor, going up 11-0 to start game two. The Bravettes were led by senior Christina Delladio, who blocked Lombardino twice at the net and had five kills. BLHS recovered a bit, but was never able to work its way back, as the Bravettes evened things up with a 25-13 victory.
"They definitely had the desire to beat us, that was obvious," Zydlo said of the Bravettes. "They forced some errors, but we definitely had our share of unforced errors. They came out fighting and we came out flat."
That the match went to a third game after how easily BLHS dispatched Baldwin came as no surprise to Lombardino. The junior had played enough games against Bonner Springs to know that they were never an easy opponent.
"We've always been a rivalry, so I knew it would be close, but I also knew we could do it," Lombardino said.
In the third game Basehor-Linwood took the lead at 4-3 and never gave it up, although both teams played some of their best volleyball of the night in that game. Sanders used a clever tip to put the Lady 'Cats up 17-9, but Delladio preserved hope for the Bravettes by blocking Lombardino and Patton on consecutive plays and then notching a kill to cut the lead to 18-12. BLHS was strong from there out, though, and held on for the win.
At the end of the night Zydlo said she was pleased to take two out of three matches in her coaching debut, especially since the only loss came against the defending regional champions from Eudora. Although Bonner Springs lost all three of its matches, Luke said she still thought it was an outing she and her teammates could build on.
"I think it was a good start," Luke said. "Eudora and Baldwin are both tough teams and against Basehor we played with heart all three games."