High school volleyball: Brookings Bobcats’ confidence grows with win over Lynx

Brookings attacker Macy Even goes for a kill during the first set of a match against Brandon Valley at Brookings High School on Tuesday night. The Bobcats swept the Lynx to win their seventh match in the last eight matches. (Chris Schad/Brookings Register)

BROOKINGS — The Brookings Bobcats’ recent hot streak continued on Tuesday night as they picked up a sweep over Brandon Valley to win their seventh out of their last eight matches.

“We’ve just kind of made that turn in practice and in games,” Brookings head coach Erinn Thomas said of the recent success. “We’re looking each other in the eye. We know we have the next point. We’re confident that we’re going to score the next point and we’re confident in our teammates to be able to go get that next point.”

The Bobcats’ confidence shined through against the Lynx even as they fell behind 8-2 in the beginning of the first set. After slowly working their way back, the Bobcats cut the lead down to 14-11 and then made it a 21-19 set before taking the lead at 23-22 and winning by a score of 25-23.

The second set saw Brandon Valley get off to another fast start but the Bobcats trusted their process to take a 14-13 lead midway through. After running their lead up to 21-15, the Bobcats were able to close out the second set by a score of 25-21.

While the first two sets were impressive, the third one may have been Brookings’s best set of the night. The Bobcats and Lynx went back and forth until Brandon Valley took a 16-12 lead but Brookings rallied for six straight points to jump ahead 18-16.

While the Bobcats reached match point at 24-19, the Lynx mounted their own rally with five straight points to tie it up at 24-24 to keep the match alive. Brookings would have match point three more times in the third set but finally closed it out with a 29-27 victory.

“We’ve been talking about our mental toughness in practice and we’ve kind of been waiting for it to show up,” Thomas said. “It was fun to see them translate what we’ve been talking about in practice into the game and it showed up in all three sets. We were down quite a bit in all three, but we were able to come back and it was fun to see them pull together as a team.”

Rylee Thompson led the Bobcats with 11 kills on the night while Sydney Bebensee had 10 kills and Macy Even had nine kills. Tess Burns came through with two blocks while Arielle Ferrell, Kymber Buys, Even and Bebensee had one block each.

Kylie Moe had a team-high 14 digs while Buys had nine digs. Lydia Walker had seven digs for the Bobcats and Even, Morgan Norgaard and Thompson each had five digs in the win.

Thompson had four aces in five attempts for Brookings while Bebensee had two aces and Burns and Moe had one ace each. Buys also led the Bobcats with 36 assists.

The win extended a great stretch for Brookings which began after defeating Tea Area at home last Tuesday. The Bobcats headed west after that win and spent the weekend competing in the Rapid City Volleyball Invitational Tournament, going 5-1 and winning the tournament championship.

“I think last weekend was a huge, huge confidence boost,” Thomas said. “We won five games in a row there and really ended on a great note. “We came into practice on a great note and we just kept pushing and we were able to carry that into the game tonight.”

While the Bobcats felt good coming home after the win, Tuesday’s win over Brandon Valley continued some momentum that Thomas hopes will continue moving forward beginning with Saturday’s trip to O’Gorman.

“We’ve talked about bringing the same energy, the same confidence and it was fun to see it tonight,” Thomas said. “Now we get back in the gym and we keep pushing. We don’t let up. Our practices stay intense and the energy will be high when we go to O’Gorman on Saturday. It’s a big game we’re really excited for.”