BROOKINGS – Coming off a weekend where the Brookings volleyball team picked up a pair of 3-1 wins against Rapid City Central and Rapid City Stevens, the Bobcats looked to carry the momentum into their matchup tonight with Brandon Valley.
However, the Lynx came into Brookings High School and showed why they are ranked amongst the top teams in class AA volleyball, picking up a win over the Bobcats in straight sets on Tuesday night in the BHS auxiliary gym.
Set scores were 25-11, 25-18 and 25-17.
As evident by the score, the Lynx dominated the first set, opening with an 8-2 run to force a Bobcat timeout.
The Lynx would stretch their lead to 19-8, winning numerous points at the net both with kills and blocks to force Brookings to scramble and regroup.
After picking up a few points to climb back to 19-10, the Lynx would win six of the final seven points to claim the first set, 25-11.
Both Brookings and Brandon Valley would trade points in the early going of the second set, and tied at ten, Sarah Gannon and Landree Wilson each provided kills to give the Bobcats a 12-10 lead.
For Wilson, it was just her third match of the season after having been stuck on the sidelines with an injury since August.
“To get Landree [Wilson] back this past week was a nice change for the team and now she is just trying to find her rhythm and get going again,” said head coach Tina Bergen.
The Lynx would rally to take a 13-12 lead, but a Gracey Sheridan kill tied the set at 13, and after again trading points, the second set was tied at 16.
Leading 17-16 after a Tayla Dobrenski ace, Brookings was again snake-bitten by injury when senior defensive specialist Allie Clark went down with a knee injury.
The Lynx jumped back ahead, 18-17, before Gracie Adamson’s kill tied the set at 18.
Brandon Valley would rattle off seven straight points to take the set, 25-18, and lead the match 2-0.
Clark came back on to the floor in the third set, but the return was short lived as she would check out of the game and head for the training room, only to return to the bench with a pair of crutches and an ice bag wrapped around the injured knee.
Brookings would open the third set strong and lead 10-8, but the Lynx would again answer, running off three-straight points to regain an 11-10 lead.
After tying the score at 11, Brandon Valley jumped ahead by four, 15-11, and forced a Bobcat timeout.
Brookings would get back to 15-13 on an Adamson kill and block, but a long volley and mad scramble in the Lynx backcourt went the way of Brandon Valley, who seized momentum and pushed its lead to 20-15, then 21-17. The Lynx then scored four-straight to win the set, 25-17, and the match in straight sets.
For the Bobcats, a number of things led to the final result, both on their side of the net and their opponents’.
“Tonight, there were aspects of the game where we’re normally stronger, and they lacked tonight, and we need to get that back,” Birgen said. “There were things we could have controlled in the game tonight that we did not control. Brandon Valley is a strong team and have been competing well across the state. They took care of business when they needed to, and they definitely didn’t hand us anything with things like unforced errors.”
The Bobcats have had to work through various injuries throughout the season, and have had to deal with different lineups, alignments, and rotations. Despite all the negatives, the Bobcats keep fighting.
“Injuries have pegged our team this year for whatever reason, but our girls continue to fight despite the adversity. And they hold their heads up high, do what we ask them to, and do their best under the circumstances,” Birgen said.
Adamson had 11 kills to lead the Bobcats offensively, while Wilson added six.
Riley Weisbeck and Emily Harms had 17 and 11 digs, respectively. Harms also added 19 set assists.
“Gracie Adamson hit the ball well, she had a strong hitting percentage tonight,” Birgen said. “Riley Weisbeck and Emily Harms were digging out of their minds tonight in the back row and just working their tails off.”
With the loss the Bobcats fall to 3-6 and 0-4 in the Eastern South Dakota Conference.
Brookings plays on the road at O’Gorman this Saturday and at Mitchell next Tuesday before returning home on Sept. 23 to take on Huron as part of Homecoming week.
Brookings picked up a pair of wins in the preliminary matches.
The junior varsity fell in three sets, while the sophomores fell in straight sets.
Both the freshman “A” and “B” teams picked up wins.