GRANVILLE – Eureka went into enemy territory in 2017 and blasted regional volleyball host Peru St. Bede in the finals.
On Oct. 25, the Bruins got another crack and while they put up a much more competitive battle, the Hornets prevailed 25-18, 25-21 at Putnam County’s R.M. Germano Gymnasium.
Last season, Eureka (34-4) handled PSB (29-7) 25-4, 25-16, a match the Bruins had not forgotten.
“We talked about that,” commented Hornets’ coach Tracy Heffren of their opposition using the revenge factor as motivation. “They’re a good team. I’m pretty sure the loss last year would fire them up. They stepped up.”
The Bruins raced out to an 8-3 lead on Eureka.
Rather than use a timeout to halt the momentum, Heffren relied on her veteran club to right the ship.
“We came out a little slower than I would have wanted to, but I thought we would settle down,” she admitted. “They were able to slow them down. I thought they’d overcome that with their experience.”
The Hornets took a lasting lead at 13-12 on a kill from Courtney Heffren before Katie Morin (13 digs) delivered a service ace.
Hailey Flowers evenly split her kill total with seven in each set for a total of 14. The Radford recruit has now recorded double-digit kills in eight consecutive matches.
“We do not have a set amount,” said Heffren of Flowers. “She’s hitting well and she’s hitting to the open spots.”
In the second set, PSB led 8-5 and appeared to go up four on a hitting error on Eureka. After a brief discussion, the decision was reversed and the younger Heffren was credited with one of her seven kills to cut the margin to 8-6.
“It was a big call for us,” Tracy Heffren commented. “I saw that the referee threw the flag up so I knew they would talk it over. They got it right. It took a little bit of wind out of their (PSB) sails.”
The teams traded the lead seven times after before the Hornets grabbed it for good at 15-14 following a solo block from Lauren Ausmus, one of her four on the night. She also added six kills.
Without the senior’s contributions, there was the possibility the match would go three sets.
“She definitely played well,” said Coach Heffren of her starting middle hitter. “She blocked amazingly. She hit well. She’s an unsung hero. She likes to stay out of the limelight. She’s not flashy, but she’s steady.”
Amy Pineda registered a double-double with 16 assists and 12 digs to go with six points, while Darby Leman added 11 assists.
Macy Bosnich and Hallie McGuire each had six kills for the Bruins, while Elaina Wamhoff chipped in with 14 assists.