Versailles coach, Kenzie Bruggeman takes a timeout to talk to her Lady Tigers in the team's tournament win over Northeastern. (Chris Tilton photo)

Versailles Lady Tigers upset Northeastern

Versailles knocks off No. 1 seed Springfield Northeastern to earn Sectional Championship and advance in tournament play.

BROOKVILLE – When it comes to volleyball the battle tested Versailles Lady Tigers are a team that are not to be overlooked.  They upset the No. 1 seeded Northeastern Lady Jets to claim the sectional crown.  It would take four sets to get the win. But the Tigers showed grit in the fourth set to will themselves to victory. Scoring for the night was: 25-22, 25-15, 21-25 and 25-22.

In the first set, Versailles played, well like Tigers.  They came out fast and strong – slashing their way to a 7-0 lead.  This forced the Northeastern coach to call a time out to get the Jets settled down. Brynn Briscoe had 3-service aces during this early run and both Tori Tyo and Jenna Marshal had kills.  But the Lady Jets were reeling and just could not make much of a run to catch up during this first set.  Jenna Marshal was strong with 8-kills and Lexi Magoto chipped in a service ace.

Coach Bruggeman, “Lately we have not been starting strong and I knew what Northeastern had on the other side. I put pressure on the girls – you have to dial in, you have to have energy.  They have great athletes and if you let them capture the momentum, they are just going to take off. We changed our warm up and it showed. We came out on fire right out of the gate.”

“I had a talk with Brynn Briscoe before the game and told her that she had not played to her potential the last two games. She was trying to do too much, when she just needed to play her game. Tonight she was focused, she really served well tonight. She is quiet, but she speaks with her play.  Her serve receive is excellent.  She doesn’t finish plays – but she starts them. It’s fun to watch her play.”

In the second set Versailles attacked vigorously.  Jenna Marshal scored early and then late in the match Kirsten Bomholt racked up 3-kills in a row to help cement the win.  Both Magoto and Marshal had service aces.  The Lady Tigers easily controlled this set with a 25-15 win and it sure looked like this would be a short night’s work.

But the Northeastern team showed why they were a No. 1 seed in the third set.  They really passed well and kept the front line of the Lady Tigers guessing with their feints.  They attacked well from the edges. There were a total of 8-ties in this set as each team tried to gain an edge against the other.  But with the score tied at 21, it was the Jets that scored the last 4-points to seal the win 21-25.

Now the Tigers looked vulnerable. And Northeastern built on their momentum by starting the fourth match with a 8-1 run. It was looking like the match would be decided by a fifth set. Coach Bruggeman took a time out – determined to get her team in gear. The team responded but they had a lot of catching up to do. The plucky team showed a lot of grit and amazingly they caught up to the Jets.

Several players aided in the comeback including Brooke Briscoe with back to back service aces that finally tied the score at 20 and briefly gave the Tigers their first lead.  Kirsten Bomholt had several huge kills in the home stretch. Clare Rethman scored with a service ace, and Taylor Wagner had a block as the Tigers charged to the finish line with a 25-22 win.

“Kirsten Bomholt had a really good game tonight she was looking at our setter going give that ball to me. I love the competitiveness in her and she works her tail off. We go to her in crunch time situations.”

Coach Bruggeman had this to say after the game, “I am thankful for the grit. We were down 8-1 and came back. We’ve been here though – down by 7 and a great team on the other side. It was fun to see them play like that. Overall we had high energy and we wanted it. At the end – we practice those situations: up by 2, down by 2 – how are we going to handle it? How are we going to close the game? We go through all these situations so that when we are in them, we know what to do. We took a big risk in the tournament, but its big risk, big reward. This is the path that we want to go. ”

Clare Rethman looks on as Brooke Briscoe returns a serve for Versailles in the Lady Tigers Sectional Championship win. (Chris Tilton photo)
Brynn Briscoe makes a set for the Versailles Lady Tigers in the team's OHSAA DIII Sectional Championship win over Northeastern. (Chris Tilton photo)
Versailles' Jenna Marshal slams a kill for the Lady Tigers in tournament action. (Chris Tilton photo)
Kirsten Bomholt nails a spike for Versailles in the Lady Tigers Sectional Championship win over Northeastern. (Chris Tilton photo)
Taylor Wagner goes strong to the Versailles net in the Lady Tigers tournament win over Northeastern. (Chris Tilton photo)

Chris Tilton / Correspondent

Chris Tilton has covered sports in Southwest Ohio for the past 23 years and has lived in Southwest Ohio most of his life. He is mostly retired and continues to enjoy travel in the USA and hs been to Asia and Europe. Chris continues to work as a freelance writer. His Hobbies include fishing and computer gaming. Chris lives on a 32 acre farm in the Camden area. He has 10 grandchildren the he enjoys spending time with when he is not covering sports or traipsing around the country.

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