After spending much of Tuesday night diving on the floor of the Mascoutah High gym, the Massac County had the Columbia Eagles to thank for all those floor burns.
Showing off its deep and powerful offensive arsenal, Columbia got 12 kills from Colene Hamilton, eight from Jordan Hausmann and seven from Alyssa Yochum in a dominant 25-10, 25-12 semifinal victory at the Class 3A Mascoutah Sectional.
The kill that summed up the match was the one that separated a Massac County player’s star-spangled headband from her head and left her seemingly a bit stunned.
“Our hitters did a great job,” Columbia coach Kelly Landgraf said. “They were able to put the ball down in different places. I thought we did a good job not only hitting the perimeter but we were able to hit some short shots and find some holes, also.
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“Credit the defense because they put it in the setter’s hands and Liz (Fleming) ... she fed it to them perfectly.”
The 36-0 Eagles had far too many weapons for Massac County.
“We’re five hitters strong and any night, any of those hitters can place the ball wherever they need to,” Landgraf said.
The win lifted the Eagles into a 2015 sectional final rematch with Mascoutah (28-8), which knocked off Murphysboro 27-25, 25-16 in the other semifinal on Tuesday.
Us and Mascoutah, here were go again. It’s a shame that both of us are on the same side of the state.
Columbia coach Kelly Landgraf
Mascoutah beat Columbia in three sets last season to win the sectional championship on the way to the state tournament. Columbia beat Mascoutah 25-17, 25-11 in the lone meeting between the teams this season.
“Us and Mascoutah, here were go again,” Landgraf said. “It’s a shame that both of us are on the same side of the state. They are a strong team, we have our work cut out for us. We’re definitely going to have to bring our best game.
“It’s going to be a battle.”
Hamilton had nine of her 12 kills in the second set while Hausmann and Yochum set the stage in the first set by combining for 11 kills.
Hausmann was a force in the middle throughout the match.
“With me, Colene, Alyssa and Kelly (Metter) and all the other top hitters, it just spreads everything out,” said Hausmann, part of a strong senior group that is working hard on a 36-match win streak. “It means so much to us, going undefeated this season and hoping to do what we didn’t do last year.
“It means a lot to us.”
Landgraf said Hausmann has been a major factor in the Eagles’ season.
“Jordan is absolutely solid,” Landgraf said. “Her hitting percentage is right at 53 percent and for a middle hitter, that’s solid. She does it all, she gets the blocks ... she has been solid for us all year. She’s kind of like a hidden gem.”
Mascoutah defeats Murphysboro
The first set was like a heavyweight boxing match with both squads landing damaging punches. Rarely separated by more than two or three points, the teams battled down the stretch until Murphysboro (31-6) rallied to tie it 24-24 on a kill by Mallorie Harris and an Indians’ error.
A block by Harris put the Red Devils at set point, but a hitting error and kill by Nilah Roy helped Mascoutah regain the lead 26-25. Lacey Albers closed out the emotional game with an ace.
“I thought we played decent, but it’s the way it’s been all year with us,” Mascoutah coach Todd Gober said. “We have a tendency to make a lot of unforced errors.”
Mascoutah kept riding the emotion of that first-set win, scoring eight straight points to open the second set.
Murphysboro tried to regroup, but the Indians kept pulling away and led 19-6 at one points. Murphysboro cut the deficit to 19-11, but the Indians advanced to the semifinals.
Albers led the Indians with seven kills while Katirah Johnson and Taylor Recuero added four kills each. Sophomore Molly Cravens, playing in place of injured Mascoutah setter Kamrynn Voypick, had 20 assists.
Voypick, who has a finger injury, was used sparingly in serving situations.
“There were a lot of nice tempo sets,” Gober said. “I think Molly did a great job setting tonight and a lot of those balls were very hittable balls. Our hitters ... it was just a little bit different for them.
Our hitters were just a little bit long on a lot of shots. I thought our middles did well and I thought our defense came around. It was sluggish; we’re fortunate to come out with a win because I think Murphysboro came out and played well.”
Valmeyer Pirates avoid elimination
Valmeyer advanced to the championship match of the Class 1A Crab Orchard Sectional with a 26-24, 27-25 semifinal victory Tuesday over the Cobden Appleknockers.
Valmeyer (21-14) will face Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (26-6) in the championship match at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“We definitely had some nerves the first game and made a lot of errors,” said Valmeyer coach Jenny Kohnz, whose team got nine kills, two blocks and five assists from Jordyn Killy and fought back from game point in the first set. “We had a lot of deflections off the block that we weren’t picking up.
Valmeyer’s Blair Brady had a key block near the end of the first set and finished with seven points, three aces, four blocks and nine assists. Setter Guin Kohnz also had a big night with 12 assists and Sam Seidel contributed seven kills.
The Pirates were down 25-24 in the second set and came back to win 27-25.
“We play a tough schedule, we’ve had a ton of three-game matches,” Coach Kohnz said. “The girls don’t give up and my three seniors had good leadership tonight. They weren’t ready for the season to be over.”
Another local 1A team didn’t fare as well in the sectional semifinals as the Metro-East Lutheran Knights were defeated by Clay City 25-23, 26-24 at the Lebanon Sectional.