GLADSTONE - The Braves fought resiliently, but it wasn't enough to keep the Stephenson Eagles from completing a 3-0 (17-25, 23-25, 22-25) sweep Thursday night.
Gladstone came out hot in the first set, but the Eagles rallied right back and eventually took a commanding lead, finishing the first set 17-25.
In set two, the Braves repeated themselves, marching to a 11-4 lead. However, Stephenson held them in place, coming back to tie the game at 11. The rest of the set was a see-saw battle back and forth, with neither team able to gain more than a three point advantage. It was tied at 23, but Stephenson stayed the course and took the set 23-25.
Justin Marietti |?Daily Press
Gladstone’s Mackenzie Gay dives for a dig Thursday night against Stephenson at Gladstone High School.
Justin?Marietti |?Daily Press
Callie Jensen (20) reaches for a ball hit by Stephenson’s Lexi Johnson Thursday at Gladstone High School.
When the Braves began the third set, they seemed a little sluggish, falling behind 5-13. Coach Liz Gendron called a time out, and it seemed to put the spark back into their team, holding the Eagles' offense and rallying back to tie the game at 13. However, just like the previous sets, every time the Braves mounted a run, Stephenson would answer right back. Gladstone hung around the entire game, but never quite had enough steam to take the lead. They lost the final set 22-25.
Stephenson coach Craig Hartges was pleased with the way his girls never let the game slip away from them.
"We are fortunate this year to have some good height and athleticism," he said. "When you have athletes, you do better."
STEPHENSON - Martin (9 assists, 6 digs); Squires (16 assists); Wangerin (5 digs); Duprey (5 kills, 6 digs); Demille (11 digs); Johnson (10 kills, 1 block, 10 digs); Turcotte (3 aces, 2 blocks, 11 kills).
GLADSTONE - Pardonnet (1 ace, 8 kills); Demeuse (8 kills); Hongisto (9 kills); Aird (2 aces, 4 kills, 1 assist); Gay (3 aces, 1 kill); Jensen (1 ace, 22 assists).
He added that his team had some slight problems with serve receiving and digging, but their hitting is what got them through the game.
"Our strength is our hitting," Hartges said.
Gendron conceded that Stephenson was the better team, but also sees reasons to be hopeful with her current group.
"We gave up too many points, and had too many fundamental errors," she said. "Our hitters are not hitting the ball. Once our hitters get on track, then we can start putting teams away."
The Eagles' jayvees also completed the sweep, winning 2-0 (25-16, 25-18) over the Braves.
Gladstone hits the road to play Marquette Tuesday.