O'FALLON — It may sound a bit simplistic but O'Falllon volleyball coach Katelyn Hagarty didn't hesitate in reminding her team of the basics of the sport on Friday at the O'Fallon Volleyball Tournament.
Down a game to Althoff, Hagarty's message?
"We were beating ourselves with error after error and a lot of the mistakes we were making were unforced," Hagarty saId. "I just told them to keep the ball in the court and stop beating themselves."
Seniors Dirk Husemann and Jon Hobbs got the message quickly as they combined for 19 kills as the top-seeded Panthers rallied for a 25-27, 25-15, 15-10 in pool play competition at the Panther Dome.
O'Fallon (21-4-1) later defeated Fox, (Mo.) High School to win its pool and advance as one of four undefeated teams into the bracket-style format on Saturday.
Belleville East, Belleville West and Edwardsville also finished 2-0 in pool play. Tournament action continues at 8:30 a.m. in both the Panther Dome and main gym at O'Fallon High School. The title match is set for 12:30 p.m.
Led by the play of Hayden Buss, Donovan Gagen and Erik Krause, Althoff a see-saw affair in game on and led 3-1 in game two before, O'Fallon found its game.
A seven-point service run by Husemann put O'Fallon up 10-4 and the Panthers went on to even the match with a 25-15 win.
The final game was close early before a kill by Husemann followed by a block and kill by Hobbs on consecutive points gave O'Fallon some breathing room as it went on for a 15-10 win to take the match.
"Later in the Althoff game and against Fox I thought we picked up our game,' Hagarty said. "We started communicating much better."
The loss was a tough one to take for Althoff coach Tim Gagen whose team continues to progress.
"I thought we came out and played well after a tough loss to Vianney on Thursday. We came out and every part of our game was aggressive,'' Gagen said. "We just need to play that way on a consistent basis.
"Give credit to O'Fallon. They came back and played well."
Belleville West (13-9) and Belleville East (15-4-1) went 2-0 on Friday. But not without being pushed.
Taking a break from the wars of the Southwestern Conference where it shares the lead with O'Fallon, East got a scare in its second match of the day, beating Oakville, (Mo.) 25-16, 15-25, 15-12.
"Give Oakville credit. They came out and played well and did a good job of blocking Austin (Cox)," Lancers coach Stefanie Gaubatz said. "I wasn't really sure how we were going to react but I thought in the third game we had some kids step up and make plays."
Unlike East, Belleville West won both of its matches in two games. But after a tough loss to O'Fallon on Thursday, Maroons coach Austin Betz was just happy with a pair of wins.
West had a match point against O'Fallon in the SWC match before the Panthers rallied for the three game win.
"It was tough to refocus," Betz said. "We were able to come in here today and win twice. We'll leave it at that."