The Lady Longhorns celebrate after clinching the first set win against North Platte St. Pat’s in the finals of the SPVA tourney Saturday in Grant. St. Pat’s went on to win the next two and the championship, but Chase County defied its No. 3 seed to get into the finals. (Johnson Publications photo)

Madison Schuller, at right, makes a great save in the first set against St. Pat’s as teammates Taylor Williams, left, on ground, and Sophie Spady move in for the pass in a competitive SPVA finals match. (Johnson Publications photo)

Chase County teammates Ashley Bubak (18) and Mallie McNair go up for the block against Hershey’s Emily Barr in semi-final action at Saturday’s SPVA tourney. Chase County upset Hershey to advance to the finals. (Johnson Publications photo)

Chase County claims runner-up SPVA volleyball honors

    Chase County didn’t quite match their SPVA tournament finish last year, but it was close.
    After three upsets that led to the 2017 championship as the No. 5 seed, the Lady Longhorns  were on the same path Saturday in this year’s conference tourney.
    Seeded No. 3 overall, Chase County handed No. 2 seed Hershey a loss in the semi-finals, pitting them and top-seeded North Platte St. Pat’s in the finals like last year.
    This year, however, St. Pat’s got the win. But, it took three games to get it.
    Scores were 25-14, 18-25 and 20-25.
    Coach Jodie Schuller said she was very proud of her team.
    “We had first place in our hands. I believe in what our team can do and when they fall short, it’s tough,” Schuller said.
    However, she said Chase County, which played one more match on Saturday than St. Pat’s, just “ran out of gas.”
    She said they needed to pass better, not miss so many serves and hit harder.
    After a dominant first set win over St. Pat’s, Schuller said her team was out of rhythm in sets two and three.
    Chase County never trailed in the first set, but the score was tied twice early. After leading 4-1, Chase County gave up three straight points as the Lady Irish tied it 4-4. It was again tied 5-5, but from then on, Chase County never lost the lead, winning it 25-14.
    The next two sets won by St. Pat’s were much closer.
    Schuller said giving up 15 points (8 missed serves, 7 hitting errors) to a team like St. Pat’s makes it tough to win.
    Serving 55-63 at the line, Chase County finished at 87 percent on serves. They tallied five aces.
    Chase County had better hitting stats than St. Pat’s. Connecting on 28 kills, offset by seven errors, they finished with a .223 hitting efficiency, compared to .101 for St. Pat’s (23 kills, 15 errors).
    Allison Owings led the hitters with eight kills, as Mallie McNair scored seven.
    Madison Schuller was credited with 20 set assists, and Sophie Spady had 37 digs.
Hershey match
    After splitting the first two sets, 25-17 and 18-25, it was a real battle for the match win in the third against Hershey.

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