ELYRIA — On the television show “Hogan’s Heroes,” Sgt. Schultz continually exclaimed “I know nothing,” to avoid getting in trouble.
On Wednesday evening, “not knowing” might have contributed to Elyria Catholic’s five-game victory over North Coast league rival Chanel. In volleyball, games are played to 25 – except in the fifth game where the game is played to 15 with the winning team needing to win by two.
According to EC coach Kim Watson, who only has three seniors on her squad, not everyone knew that and therefore there was really no pressure on the Panthers when they trailed 14-9 in the deciding fifth game.
“This was our first fifth game in two years,” said Watson. “After we won, a lot of girls said they didn’t know that we only played to 15 in the fifth game. They thought that they had more time so they didn’t put any pressure on themselves out there. They were loose, relaxed, confident, and played that way.”
The fifth game was a seesaw battle early as EC (6-5 overall, 5-2 NCL) jumped ahead 2-0 before Chanel scored three straight to take the lead. From there, each team continued to go back and forth with one-point leads until Chanel, trailing 9-8, caught fire. Six unanswered points put the Firebirds (5-5, 2-4) within a point of winning the tiebreaker game and forced Watson to use her last timeout.
“I basically told the girls to remember what their role was on the team,’ Watson said of her timeout speech. “If they are a passer, they need to pass. If they are a blocker, they need to block. If they are a hitter, they need to put it down. If they are a setter, they need to set.
“I wanted them to concentrate on what their role is and not try to do everything.”
Following the timeout, and with Theresa Krosse serving, EC scored three straight points to pull within 14-12 and forced Chanel coach Jeff George to call his first timeout. If George was hoping to calm his players and rattle Krosse, it didn’t work. Playing with the confidence of a seasoned veteran, the sophomore blew a pair of serves by the Chanel back row to tie the game at 14, causing George to call his final timeout.
This time, Chanel came out of the stoppage to grab a 15-14 lead, but it was short-lived. Three straight points by EC gave the Panthers the fifth game 17-15.
“I think we matured a bit tonight,” said Watson. “We started out well in the first two games but hit a tough stretch in games three, four and part of five. But, the girls played well both mentally and physically in the fifth. Chanel is big up front and they like to play aggressive. I’m happy how the girls responded to that.”
It was an opportunity lost for Chanel.
“We were playing not to lose the game,” said Chanel coach Jeff George. “And anytime you play that way, you are going to lose. Serve-receive just completely fell apart and I have no explanation for that. You have to give their server (Krosse) credit. Even in a normal situation, a lot of servers won’t go back there and serve that aggressively. She brought her serves right at us and we just collapsed.
“Give them (EC) credit. We had them where we wanted them and they fought their way out of it.”
EC won the first two games 25-13 and 25-22. The Panthers led 16-7 in the third before Chanel rallied to win 25-21. The Firebirds took the fourth game 25-13 to set up the fifth game tiebreaker.
For the five games, Katie Svat led the Panthers with 48 digs while Krosse finished with three aces and 19 assists. Megan Hanson contributed 21 kills and Zoe Zwegat finished with seven blocks.
Contact Hans Schneider at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.