Revenge is a dish best served cold.
South Tama County's volleyball team served it up to Hudson Saturday afternoon and found itself in the championship match of its home tournament for the first time in years. South Tama had another shot at revenge in the title match, but fell short following its win over Hudson.
Sumner-Fredericksburg, who went 5-0 Saturday, won the South Tama Invitational after defeating the Lady Trojans for the second time that day. Sumner-Fredericksburg faced its toughest challenge in the finals, but still defeated South Tama 25-14, 25-18 to win the championship.
South Tama senior Trisha Walz jumps to spike a ball against Hudson Saturday afternoon. The Lady Trojans avenged a previous loss this season when they beat Hudson in three sets at their home tournament. STC went on to finish second to Sumner-Fredericksburg.
"It's been a long time since we've placed in our tournament," STC coach Michelle Bradley said. "I'm tickled pink."
Senior Trisha Walz was smiling after the tournament.
"I'm really happy with second place, because we usually don't do that well," Walz said. "In my four years, I don't think we've made it to the championship."
Sumner-Fredericksburg won 10 of the first 12 points and never allowed STC within seven in the first set. The Cougars pounced again with a 4-0 lead to open the second, though the Lady Trojans took seven of the next nine points including a senior Samantha Holtz smash to cap an extended rally.
Walz unleashed a rocket two points later to give STC a 7-5 lead. The Lady Trojans carried a 9-7 advantage before a trio of errors put them in a 16-13 hole. Senior Paige Van Dyk's winner pulled STC within two, but it never got any closer as the Cougars claimed the next four points and pulled away for the title.
"We had longer rallies," Bradley said. "We had more points and they were good points. I know it's really frustrating when you have a long point and you don't win it, but the girls seem to handle it OK. Sumner just started putting some blocks on us and we couldn't hit through the blocks. When you have big hitters, like I have, I think that's more frustrating than anything.
"We tried to change it up, because they were hitting line quite a bit," she added. "We moved our block over and it seemed to fire us up a bit. They were attacking and we were digging, but it seemed like if we got an attack going, they weren't letting anything drop either. It was two scrappy teams going at it and I liked it. I'm proud and our girls have nothing to hang their head about."
While the Lady Trojans lost to Sumner-Fredericksburg twice, including the finals, on Saturday, their highlight of the home tournament was defeating Hudson. South Tama fell to Hudson at the BCLUW Tournament earlier in the month and cost itself a chance at winning the tournament title. Hudson beat STC 19-21, 21-9, 15-5 in Conrad.
On Saturday, South Tama avenged the loss and it couldn't have come at a better time. STC finished its pool play 2-1 behind Sumner-Fredericksburg, while Hudson won its pool with a 3-0 record. STC and Hudson squared off in the semifinals and STC took advantage of the chance for revenge.
"That was the biggest win of the day," Bradley said. "That to me, made my whole month. We spanked them in the third set."
Back-to-back kills from Van Dyk gave the Lady Trojans a 3-0 lead to open the first set, though Hudson responded with the next four. Neither team could establish more than a two points advantage before two-straight kills from Van Dyk and an ace from senior Madison Baack gave the Lady Trojans a 13-10 edge. A trio of errors lengthened STC's lead to 19-14 though Hudson tightened the game at 23-22, before Holtz hit a winner and a tip from senior Tori Appelgate helped the Lady Trojans prevail 25-22.
"The difference in that match was I didn't see the faces that I normally see after a bad play," Bradley said. "What I saw was them ready for the next play, because they weren't going to make the same mistake twice. Revenge was sweet. It was absolutely sweet. Since Hudson came out of the other pool undefeated, it was a little shock to their system to get beat there."
The evenly matched squads battled back-and-forth in the second set with 13 ties - the last coming at 21, before Hudson's Corey Miles' smash leveled the tally at 1-1. Van Dyk helped the Lady Trojans keep pace with five winners in an eight-point span. However, Hudson won the set 25-22 by scoring four of the final five points.
South Tama wasted no time in the third set, taking a quick 3-0 lead on a Holtz' kill and forcing a Hudson timeout. Hudson tied the set at 3-3 before South Tama scored 9-of-10 to take a 12-4 lead. STC scored points on attacks from Van Dyk, Holtz, senior Trisha Walz and senior Tori Appelgate during that stretch. Hudson rallied, but a Walz kill and a Hudson attack that went long won the match for South Tama.
"That was pretty sweet, because we also knocked off a ranked team," Walz said. "That was pretty exciting, especially when you get all of that energy going. It was nice to beat them. We talked and got energetic after every point, instead of dull. It got everyone going. We were scrappier and worked harder together, which all paid off for us."
Van Dyk led the Trojans with 15 kills and a solo block in the match, while Holtz added 10 kills and 11 digs. Walz tallied seven kills and 17 digs and Baack dished out 27 assists. Tori Appelgate converted 13-of-16 serves with four aces. Sophomore Belle Tyynismaa (11-of-12), Van Dyk (9-of-9) and Baack (5-of-6) each added an ace.
In pool play, South Tama took care of business against Saydel (21-7, 21-15) and East Marshall (21-10, 15-21, 15-8), but struggled against Sumner-Fredericksburg (21-9, 21-12). Bradley gave some of her juniors a chance to play the second sets against Saydel and East Marshall and she liked what she saw.
"I was impressed with that energy," Bradley said. "We brought other girls in and the energy didn't go down at all. They played well. I like to give them playing time, since that's our future. I like to see what they can do against other varsity teams."
Against East Marshall, Holtz had a team-high seven kills, Baack had 11 assists and Walz recorded eight digs. Appelgate (7-for-7) and Walz (6-for-7) each had two service winners.
The Lady Trojans' coach was also pleased with her team's energy throughout Saturday's tournament. Following last Tuesday's sweep over West Marshall, Bradley challenged her team to find a way to stay energetic.
"Now they're aware of it," Bradley said of the team's energy. "It seems like with this crew, if you make them aware of something, they do it. They came up with it themselves after I left it with them. I'm really glad they did.
"After every little point, they are trying to create their own energy, whether they look goofy or not," she said. "They don't care. I told them, 'It's not anything to be embarrassed about being excited. Just do it. People will pick up on that energy and just go crazy with it.' I liked it a lot."
South Tama played at East Marshall on Tuesday. STC will next play in a tournament Saturday at Cedar Rapids Prairie.