Columbia and Mascoutah both stayed alive in postseason volleyball Tuesday.
Columbia took revenge on Murphysboro and scored a 25-16, 25-18 victory while Mascoutah ended Carbondale’s season in straight sets 25-15, 25-14 at the Herrin 3A volleyball sectional semifinals.
“The huge difference between when they beat us in two at the Mascoutah tournament in early September and tonight was our serve receive was phenomenal,” said Columbia coach Kelly Landgraf. “We’ve got the hitters if we can get the pass. The key is to spread our offense and that’s exactly what we did. This time we got our middles into the game and it made a big difference.”
Columbia (33-4) will play Mascoutah (31-7) for the sectional championship Thursday at 6 p.m.
“Mascoutah handed us our first loss of the season at their tournament and it would be nice if we handed them their last Thursday,” Landgraf said. “It should be a great match.”
After losing the first set, Murphysboro (33-5) was down 3-2 in the second when its top scorer senior Heather Cross took a swing and dropped to the floor in pain as the ball remained in play.
As she kneeled down on the court, the rest of her teammates were focused on the ball and eventually Mikayla Brasel laid down a shot from the left side to tie the score 3-3.
It was at that point it became obvious that Cross was done for the night with what seemed to be a separated right shoulder. However, it seemed the injury unnerved the Eagles more than it did the Red Devils.
Murphysboro then went on a 7-3 run to take a 10-6 lead. But, as it did in the first set, Columbia got its second wind and retook the lead, 16-13, before closing out the set and the match on a 9-5 run.
“I was really proud of them,” Layne said. “I don’t know too many teams, when you take their No. 1 stud out of the mix and knowing she is hurt and won’t be back, that can respond the way our girls did. I was thinking it was going to be ‘One for the Gipper,’ but it wasn’t to be.”
Despite playing just a set and six points, Cross led the Red Devils with five kills and Brasel was second with four. Brasel also was the leader with eight digs. Stephanie Layne and Drew Stokes led in assists with eight each.
The front row tandem of Colene Hamilton, Jordan Hausmann and Alyssa Yochum led the Eagles with eight, seven and seven kills, respectively.
The Red Devils led 5-2 in the first set, but the Eagles took advantage of a net serve to go on a 9-4 run to take the lead, 11-9, and never looked back. Murphysboro pulled to within one at 14-13, but Columbia got its second wind and closed the first set on an 11-3 run.
“They took us out of our serve receive,” Layne said. “When we beat them they made 16 passing errors out of receive and tonight it was a mirror image with us making the mistakes.”
In the other semifinal, Mascoutah led the entire first set. In the second Carbondale held a one-point lead four times in the early going, but couldn’t put together a sustained run.
“They had solid blocking on our shots and their sets were lower than ours which gave our blockers less time to close,” said Carbondale coach Fae Ragan. “Mascoutah is a quality team and Todd Gober is a great coach.”
The Indians broke a 7-7 tie with an 11-3 run and cruised the victory. Megan Lindsay led Mascoutah with 10 kills with Tieghan Morio and Amanda Jung scoring five each. Jung also led with six digs.
“We played the same way we have all season long,” Gober said. “It’s tied early on and them our block gives us runs. We serve aggressive and get teams our of rotation and then our block becomes even more effective.”
For Carbondale (24-12) freshman outside hitter Maddie Misner led the Terriers with five kills with senior middle hitter Ashley Allen finishing with three.