BROOKINGS – The Bobcats beat Yankton in a roller-coaster Eastern South Dakota Conference volleyball match Tuesday night at the BHS Auxiliary Gymnasium.
Brookings won by the set scores of 30-28, 18-25, 25-17, 19-25 and 15-12.
“We surpassed that hump that we haven’t been to get over,” said BHS coach Jodi Melius. “I didn’t think the girls played a perfect match, but we did what we had to do to win and I’m very proud of them for the effort they put forth.
“We talked about defense to really being the key to some of those sets – making sure we had blockers up consistently and that we were playing some scrappy defense, and they were able to get that done.”
Set 5 was tied three times early, before the Bobcats used a 6-2 run to move ahead 9-5. Their lead peaked at five – 11-6 – following back-to-back points, including a kill by Annika Johnson.
However, the Gazelles countered with a 6-2 spurt – capped by Kate Budig’s service ace – to pull within 13-12.
But Brookings had the answer on Military Appreciation Night as Grace Eggebrecht netted her match-high 21st kill on the left side and Kylie Tucker ended it with a kill of her own over the middle.
“I think this just gives the girls the confidence to know that they have it within them, that they have that effort and that extra level of play within them and that they can finish the match,” added Melius, whose team snapped a six-match losing skid.
Johnson finished with 12 kills, Tucker 10 and Kailee Bartels seven.
Brookings netted 12 aces, getting three apiece from Emma Hardin and Megan Gilk and two from both Bartels and Ashlyn Borah.
Michaela Jewett guided the offense with 53 set assists and also came up with 17 digs.
Miranda Ysbrand paced the defense with 21 digs, Hardin added 14, Borah 12 and Bartels 10. Eggebrecht was credited with one block.
The opening frame set the tone for the topsy-turvy match.
The Gazelles found the scoreboard first, but the Bobcats tallied the next five points and didn’t lose the lead until Yankton had a 4-0 run to make it 14-14.
Kills by Johnson and Eggebrecht followed by another Brookings point put the home team ahead 17-14. The lead later reached five at 23-18.
The visitors scored the next three, before a Johnson kill gave the Bobcats set point.
Yankton turned the tables with a 4-0 run to grab their first of two set points at 25-24. Brookings had set-point opportunities at 27-26 and 28-27.
Tied at 28, Eggebrecht came through with a kill and the set ended on a Yankton error.
“Coming out with the 30-28 victory after Set 1 I think was really key in giving us the confidence we needed,” Melius noted. “We’re used to playing really close sets in Set 1 because we do come out with a lot of intensity, and then our challenge has been to maintain that intensity through the ups and downs of the match. And we were able to do that tonight.”
In the second, the Gazelles pulled away from a 12-all tie with a 7-0 run en route to pulling even in the match.
Brookings had a 4-0 spurt to go up 14-8 in Set 3 and, leading 20-17, closed it out with five points in a row.
Yankton raced out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth and was later ahead 11-2. Brookings battled back to get within 13-10, but another 5-0 run by the Gazelles essentially sealed the deal as the Bobcats never got close than five down the stretch.
Yankton’s Maddy Hochstein finished with 12 kills and 4 1/2 blocks (two solo). Budig, who recorded 2 1/2 blocks, and Jessica Reinhardt added 10 kills apiece.
Cameryn Specht had 32 set assists as she and Ivy Mines both collected four aces. Mines notched 22 digs, Specht 17 and Reinhardt 15.
The Gazelles, who beat Brookings 3-1 on Sept. 26 in Yankton despite dropping the opening set, fell to 5-9 (4-7).
Brookings (3-11, 3-9) plays host to Sioux Falls Lincoln on Saturday at 7 p.m.