In a Shelby/Pana Invite that was like a circular firing squad on Saturday, Stew-Stras emerged with a 2nd place finish. The Comets then dispatched Ramsey on Senior Night on Tuesday, 25-13, 25-7.
At Pana, Stew-Stras lost early in pool play to Shelbyville in a nip’n tuck affair, 25-23, 26-24. From there the two teams went opposite directions. Stew-Stras lost to eventual champion Rochester, 25-20, 25-20, but they would get another crack at them. Stew-Stras then took the heart out of Effingham, 25-18-25-12.
Stew-Stras emerged with that one win and the close loss to Shelbyville with a 2nd place in pool play and advanced to the semifinal round. The Comets took on Pana, who was 3-0 at that time. Stew-Stras took no prisoners, winning in two, 25-20, 25-20.
Shelbyville played for 7th place and beat a winless LSA, 25-20, 25-10 and finished 2-3. Pana played for 3rd place and got knocked off by rural neighbor Nokomis, 25-22, 25-27, 17-15 and fell to 3-2 after winning their pool.
Stew-Stras, after going 1-2 in pool play found themselves in the championship match with another shot at Rochester. After a close 25-23 loss in game one, the Comets were dropped 25-20 and finished the invite as runner-up with a 3-2 record. Rochester ran the table at 4-0.
Kendall Knop was named to the all-tourney team. She had a 31-kill, 31 dig tourney, with four aces. Brittani Tabbert could have been voted in as she also had 31 kills with 17 digs. Becca Schlechte had five aces, with 18 kills, 27 digs, six blocks and 40 assists. Baylee Quast had a team-high 46 assists with four aces, nine kills, 12 digs and three blocks. Clara Kaufman served a team-high seven aces and rose for a team-high seven blocks, with 20 kills.
Team results: 1. Rochester (4-0), 2. Stew-Stras (3-2), 3. Nokomis (3-2), 4. Pana (3-2), 5. Effingham (3-2), 6. Neoga (2-3), 7. Shelbyville (2-3), 8. LSA (0-5)
Red Pool Play: Shelbyville def. Stew-Stras, 25-23, 26-24; Effingham def. Shelbyville, 25-21, 25-13; Rochester def. Stew-Stras 25-20, 25-20; Rochester def. Shelbyville, 25-17, 25-15; Stew-Stras def. Effingham, 25-18, 25-12; White Pool Play: Pana def. Nokomis, 25-17, 22-25, 15-13; def. Neoga, 25-23, 25-21; def. LSA, 25-17, 25-20; Consolation semifinals: Neoga def. Shelbyville, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12; 7th Place: Shelbyville def. LSA, 25-20, 25-10; Semifinals: Stew-Stras def. Pana, 25-20, 25-19; Rochester def. Nokomis, 25-11, 25-12; 3rd Place: Nokomis def. Pana 25-22, 25-27, 17-15; Championship: Rochester def. Stew-Stras 25-23, 25-20
All-Tourney Team: Morgan Franklin (P), Sydney Lett (P), Brandy Smith (SH), Kendall Knop (SS).
Stew 5 match stats: Kendall Knop 4 aces, 31 kills, 31 digs; Becca Schlechte 5 aces, 18 kills, 27 digs, 6 blocks, 40 assists; Baylee Quast 4 aces, 9 kills, 12 digs, 3 blocks, 46 assists; Brittani Tabbert 2 aces, 31 kills, 17 digs, 1 block; Sarah Locke 1 ace, 19 digs; Clara Kaufman 7 aces, 20 kills, 8 digs, 7 blocks; Morgan Stremming 3 blocks.
On Wednesday Senior Night, the Comets celebrated their seniors by running Ramsey out of the gym, 25-13, 25-7.
“We recognized our six seniors at our last home game,” said Comet coach Ronda Schlechte. “The team played well, but the highlight was letting Lindsay (Burton) serve the last 3 points of the game. She was excited when I told her she was going in. She has been out a month and it meant a lot for her to get out there. I will miss my seniors a lot of course since five of them are starters.”
Stew-Stras needed just 18 digs to fend off the Rams, while swinging for 25 kills in the too-quick, 2-game set. The defense well a team effort with three players with four digs, each, and three more with two digs.
Kendall Knop and Brittani Tabbert were the double net threat with nine and seven kills, respectively. Becca Schlechte led the team delivering three of the nine team aces. She also set up the attack with a team-high 15 assists. Morgan Stremming scored the only team block.
Stew-Stras varsity (16-8, 8-1 NTC) begins NTC tourney play on Friday night. They play against Windsor in pool play at the Enlow Center at 6 p.m., then against St. Elmo/Brownstown at 8 p.m. They are expected to play against St. Anthony and Altamont in the Gold Flight because of their conference play. However, they will be seeded for championship day on Saturday according to their play on Friday.
Stew-Stras def. Ramsey, 25-13, 25-7
Stew stats: Becca Schlechte 3 aces, 2 kills, 15 assists, 4 digs; Baylee Quast 2 aces, 2 kills, 6 assists, 2 digs; Kendall Knop 1 ace, 9 kills, 4 digs; Brittani Tabbert 7 kills, 4 digs; Lindsay Burton 2 aces; Morgan Stremming 2 kills, 1 block; Sarah Locke 2 digs; Clara Kaufman 1 ace, 3 kills, 2 digs.
Stew-Stras def. Ramsey, 14-25, 25-19, 25-13
Stew stats: Jill Conder 3 aces, 3 kills, 16 assists, 5 digs; Clara Kaufman 2 aces, 8 kills, 3 assists, 6 digs; Skylar Vonderheide 7 aces, 5 kills, 3 digs; Vanessa Milby 1 ace, 1 kill, 1 assist, 10 digs; Kasee Garrett 2 kills, 2 assists, 8 digs; Kristina Beitz 4 aces; Olivia Gratz 2 aces, 4 kills, 1 dig.