FARMINGTON — The Farmington Knightettes volleyball team had their hands full Tuesday night with the Ste. Genevieve Hunters in the first semi-final game for the MAAA Large-School Tournament. The No. 5 seeded Hunters pushed the conference champions to three games with the Knightettes finally pulling out a 27-25, 24-26, 25-15 win.
Farmington took the early lead in game one, and it looked like the No. 1 seed would dominate the night, but Ste. Genevieve kept pace and finally tied up the game at 14-14 which caused Farmington coach Becky Noble to call time-out.
The Hunters went on to take the lead on the serve of Tyne Schwent but a hard smash by Katelyn Peterson broke the serve. Peterson nailed down another and the Knightettes retook the lead on Bethany Fink’s serve.
The lead didn’t last long as Ste. Genevieve called for a time-out and came back from the break to break Fink’s serve. Danielle Lindsey served next for the Hunters and secured two points by making a couple of huge digs of Farmington’s kill attempts.
The game see-sawed back and forth with most all of the points coming on broken serves until Andrea Bieser served the Hunters to a 21-19 lead, and Coach Noble called for her second time-out. The two teams went back to trading serves after the break.
Farmington’s No. 13 Megan Bess nailed a kill to tie the game at 24-24. It was a game of the No. 13’s as Ste. Genevieve’s Lindsey, also No. 13 came back with a kill to give her team the game-point lead. But Megan Bess had help as Peterson made two straight kills to help the Knightettes go in front 26-25 on Megan Bess’s serve. Ste. Genevieve’s coach Dennis Drumm called for a time-out to set up the Hunters’ next play. Megan Bess served up the final point for the Knightettes’ win.
The Hunters did not fold in game two. The Knightettes had the momentum from game one and used it to jump out to a 12-5 lead, but the Hunters snuck back into the game until Lindsey Palmer served the Hunters to within one point at 15-14. Farmington called time-out but it didn’t stop Palmer, who served her team to a 17-15 lead.
The two teams traded serves and Coach Noble again called time-out, not liking what she saw in the Knightettes’ offense. The Hunters ran up the score to a lead of 23-18, but the Knightettes came roaring back as they began to get their net game going again and closing to within two points at 23-21.
Lindsey hammered another kill down to make it game point for the Hunters, but the Knightettes again came roaring back to tie game at 24 on Peterson’s serve, which meant overtime again. (Teams have to win by two after a 24-24 tie.)
Ste. Genevieve broke the Knightettes’ serve and then a tip by Schwent fell just inside the sideline for the tying win. Both teams were dead even at one game apiece.
Ste. Genevieve won the toss and the serve for game three, and Palmer served the Hunters into the lead with the first point. It would be the Hunters’ last lead. Natalie Bess served a point after the rally side-out, and the Knightettes never looked back.
Ste. Genevieve would stay close for awhile but the hot net play of Jessica Arnold and Natalie Bess kept the Hunters in check. It took one complete rotation of serves before the Hunters got another point on serve with Schwent serving two to make the score 16-10 still in favor of the Knightettes.
The Hunters made only four of their 16 points in the game on serve. Meanwhile the Knightettes continued the onslaught of kills and blocks, taking the Hunters out of their game plan, until finally Katie Mell served the Knightettes to game point and a pair of side-outs gave the Knightettes the win.
Fink led in service points for Farmington with 10, Megan Bess had nine, Peterson had eight and Arnold served up six. Peterson led in kills with 16, all in the first two games, and also had two stuff blocks. Natalie Bess made 12 kills, Megan Bess had eight and Arnold had seven, and. The bulk of Natalie Bess’ and Arnold’s kills came in the third and decisive game.
Natalie Hooss came up with some key kills and had a total of six in all, and Johnson had two big blocks in the match.
For Ste. Genevieve, Lindsey had 16 kills and three stuff blocks to lead the team. Schwent had seven kills and Jodi Bleckler had three kills and three blocks. Bethany Drumm made 10 assists for the Hunters. Palmer was service points leader with nine and Schwent served up eight points.
Ste. Genevieve will play next in the third-place game at 5 p.m. on Thursday against North County. Farmington will meet Potosi in the championship game starting approximately at 8 p.m. Both games will be played at Central High School