Lady Tigers battle back from 0-2 deficit to defeat Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas and advance to regional finals.
KETTERING – The Versailles Lady Tigers battled back from a 0-2 deficit after losing the opening two sets of regional tournament play to advance to the Elite Eight with a 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas Lady Rockets.
“Just when you think we’re in the most unbelievable situation and you’re just thinking how are we ever going to come back from this, how do they keep positive, how are we going to find momentum and they find ways,” said Versailles coach, Kenzie Bruggeman. “It’s so unreal – I’m so proud of them.”
Set No. 1 saw the game tied nine times with the last coming at 9-9 before the Lady Rockets would pull away and take a 25-19 first set win.
The second set of the night had Versailles trailing 15-10 bringing a timeout from the Lady Tigers bench only to have the girls from Cincinnati take a 2-0 lead with a 25-19 second set win.
With their backs to the wall, Versailles trailed 2-0 to open third set play with the game tied at 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7 and 8-8 before the Lady Tigers used a 4-0 run to lead 12-8 and bring a timeout from the McNicholas bench.
Versailles stretched its lead to eight at 20-12 on its way to a double digit 25-15 third set win and trail 2-1 on the night.
“We were really tested,” said Bruggeman. “We were forced to perform. I was just straight up with them after that second game I said, ‘ok you’re backs are against the wall, what are you guys going to do’ and thankfully they responded.”
The Lady Tigers quickly fell behind 7-3 in the fourth set bringing a timeout from Coach Bruggeman. Versailles answered with a 6-1 run to lead 9-8 with the Lady Rockets calling a timeout.
The teams played to 9-9, 10-10, 11-11, 12-12 and 13-13 ties before McNicholas took advantage of a 3-0 run to lead 16-13 bringing a second timeout from the Versailles bench.
With time running out on the Versailles season, the Lady Tigers dug in with a 7-4 scoring run to knot the score at 20-20 but once again fell behind by 2-points at 22-20 and 23-21. Four-unanswered Versailles points put the fourth set in the win column 25-23 for the Lady Tigers sending the Sweet Sixteen match to a fifth and final set tied at 2-2.
The Lady Tigers wasted no time putting the match in the win column bolting out to a 9-0 lead with Brynn Briscoe at the service line bringing a timeout from the Lady Rockets bench. McNicholas answered with a 4-0 run with Coach Bruggeman calling a quick Versailles timeout.
“I didn’t want them to get any closer,” Bruggeman noted. “The fifth game at that point it’s not about skills, it’s about who has the most momentum and energy. You could feel it was starting to pick up on that side so we just wanted to squash it. We had a timeout and we were very specific on what we wanted to run that next play and we went out and we did it, we rotated and then we went out and finished.”
Versailles closed out the 15-point fifth set 6-3 over the Lady Rockets to advance to the regional finals with a 15-7 win.
“We know it’s never over until that final point,” Coach Bruggeman stated. “Our girls just kept going one game at a time and we made it – we got it.”
The Lady Tigers play Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA) Saturday, November 6 with a 2 p.m. start time at Kettering’s Trent Arena.