October 16, 2013The Crawford County Lady Pack kept their winning record intact last Monday night with a three-game sweep over visiting Eastern (Pekin). The Lady Musketeers tried to rally late in the match, but Crawford County parried off Eastern to go 10-8 for the year.
"The first two sets, they played really well," Crawford County coach Angie Allen said. "The third set, I think they let their guard down a little bit."
The Lady Musketeers made an early run in game one to lead 6-1. Kayla Elsea then belted in a kill and Katie Tincher added two more as Crawford County rallied to a 6-all tie. The Lady Musketeers continued to control until they were called for being out of rotation, putting the Lady Pack in front, 10-9.
Crawford County's Tylynn Allen swats this kill by Eastern's Brooke Rodewig in the third game of the Lady Pack's three-game sweep. Photo by Wade Bell
Crawford County raced to a 14-9 lead, getting two aces from Tincher. Eastern closed to within one and kept within two for the next several side-outs. Eastern then served out and Elsea punched in another kill. From there, the Lady Pack dominated to finish the 25-17 win.
"If we would play to our potential, do what we know how to do, we wouldn't be in that situation," Allen said.
Crawford County got everybody on the same page in game two. Elsea attacked from both the net and service line with three early kills and a pair of service aces. Brooke Sauer and Tincher then got in the mix, with Sauer getting three kills and Tincher drilling a pair of aces. Tylynn Allen also landed a pair of aces as the Lady Pack took a 19-4 lead.
Eastern tried to fight back late in the game, cutting the deficit to 10, but Elsea had the final say, killing twice for the 25-15 win.
Allen said her team lost some focus near the end of the game.
"They were so far ahead," she said. "That's just an issue that our girls have, and they've had it since junior high. They get ahead and they get comfortable in what they're doing and they just let their guard down a little bit."
Game three was a different story, with Eastern getting more of the momentum back. Crawford County jumped in front, but the Lady Musketeers kept the Lady Pack in their sites, staying within one. Sauer then went on the attack with four kills as the Lady Pack took a 9-5 lead.
Eastern capitalized on two Crawford County errors to come back within two. Elsea brought down two big swings for kills and a 12-8 Crawford County lead. Eastern fought back and again closed to within two, 15-13, followed by two service aces by Ryanna Watson. Later, Tylynn Allen, Sauer and Laken Fraime all killed for points, stretching the Crawford County lead by to five, 20-15.
At that point, however, things seemed to break down for the Lady Pack, and Eastern came marching back with Laken Heavner on the service line. Crawford County had a hitting error then Heavner aced twice. Crawford County hit into the net, and Heavner aced a third time, the Lady Pack lead back to one, 20-19. Sauer hit out of bounds to tie the game at 20 then Emily Eisenback tipped for an Eastern lead. Heavner added to that with a fourth ace and a 22-20 Eastern advantage.
That's where it ended, however. Heavner hit into the net on her next serve, and Sauer punched in a kill to tie the game at 22.
Allen delivered another Crawford County service ace then Sauer found a hole to tip into, giving Crawford County a two-point edge. Eastern hit out of bounds on its last side-out, and the Lady Pack had the 25-22 game and match win.
Allen said Heavner exploited one of Crawford County's weak areas.
"To be honest, that is probably our weakest side with serve-receive and being able to pass and have decent balls that we're passing to our setters," Allen said. "Last Friday, we probably worked an hour and 15 minutes on doing nothing but serve-receive because our girls struggle with it."
Allen had her team running a serve-receive drill just before the match began.
"When we run that drill, we run it a couple of different ways," she said. "The first time we run with the girls literally moving their feet and letting the ball bounce between their legs. When they're doing that, they're fine with it. But something about when we tell them they have to start passing the ball they get to the point they don't move their feet and they're reaching for the ball. So, that's our biggest issue, reading the ball when we know we really have to pass it and we reach for it."
Elsea led Crawford County with 14 kills and three service aces, and Sauer followed up with 11 kills. Tincher had four kills and five aces on serve, and Tylynn Allen had three aces and two kills. Crawford County erred 19 times and missed five service attempts. The Lady Pack, however, delivered 12 aces.
Seven of Sauer's serves came in the third game at a critical time in the match.
"Right at a time when we needed them," Allen said. "When I called that time-out and pulled the girls in, that's what I told them. I said, 'This is what happens when you let your guard down.' We have to go out there and play and fight like there's no tomorrow."
Brooke Rodewig led Eastern with six kills, and Watson had five kills and two aces on serve. Eisenback and Courtney Hoke had four kills each, and Heavner had four aces.