H2 14 UA Wins Gold at Perryville 15s Invitational

H2 14 UA went to Perryville this past weekend and won the 16 team 15U Perryville Invitational going 6-0 in matches and 12-1 in sets on the day.

While this may sound like an article from the Perryville Chamber of Commerce, it is not. The majority of the team went down to Perryville on Saturday night and the girls bonded over swimming, pizza, and cell phones while the parents enjoyed some lively banter as well.

After Coach Brenda whipped up some team waffles early on Sunday morning, it was off to Perryville Middle School for the first match of the day for the third seeded H2 squad vs. top seed Rose 15. In relatively quick fashion, H2 defeated the top seed 19-8, 19-14 and it was time for a couple match break.

At this point, a couple coaches and many parents could be found enjoying the breakfast/pastry selections from Hoeckele’s Bakery & Deli. If you are in Perryville, this is a must visit.

Back to the gym for back-to-back pool play matches against Smash Grey 15 (19-12, 19-5) and Route 3 15s (19-4, 19-14). The team was undefeated heading into the 8 team gold playoff and a couple match break lead to another trip for some of the coaches and parents.

This time, Stonie’s Sausage Shop was the venue. Free samples of their wide varieties of sausages and cheeses, the largest brat selection in the area, and a lunch counter serving sandwiches also makes this a must visit when in Perryville.

While the food was delicious, it was time to get down to business. In the quarterfinals, H2 went up against NW Cat Attack 15s. Strong, inspired play led to an H2 sweep with scores of 19-13, 19-8 setting up a semi-final match against the host team, Perryville Attack 15.

Perryville was a formidable opponent with an outstanding libero and small but very talented pin hitters. In the worst performance of the day statistically by UA, both serving and hitting, the first set went to Perryville 19-16. A quick reminder from the coaching staff that we don’t mind if the other team beats us as long as we don’t beat ourselves was all it took for the team to relax and come out ready to play in the second set.

The message was received and behind the best hitting set of the day, H2 won 19-8 setting up a decisive third set. In the final set, both teams played hard and fairly error free in the entertaining back and forth match. Fortunately H2 prevailed 16-14 to set up a finals match against an undefeated NSSC 15s team.

The momentum of winning the three set match carried over into the finals for H2 as they were strong in all aspects of the game and won the final match 19-14, 19-11 to earn first place medals and a happy trip back home.

Stats Corner
Serving: 88.5% (Ella Middleton 94.3%, Lexie Griffin 94.1%)
Ace %: 18.7% (Lexie Griffin 27.5%, Gabby Saye 23.8%)
Serve Receive: 1.65 (Ellie Appelbaum 1.87, Torie Strange 1.81)
Hitting Efficiency: .335 (Gabby Saye .456, Lexie Griffin .381, Elle Mead .381)
Kill %: 47.0% (Torie Strange 54.3%, Lexie Griffin 52.4%, Elle Mead 52.4%)
Kills: 101 (Gabby Saye 29, Torie Strange 19, Emma Garner 17)
Digs: 118 (Torie Strange 28, Rainna Ostmann 23)

H2 14 UA Goes Undefeated in Winning H2 #7 14U Tourney at Forest Park

The theme of the week leading up to this past weekend’s H2 #7 14U tourney at Forest Park for the H2 14 Under Armour team was “finishing”. The prior weekend was a disappointing result in the St. Louis Gateway League as the team went 0-6 against the top teams in the age bracket. Of the 13 sets played, H2 had leads late in the match in eight of them and only managed to finish with one win.

The plan for practices were to work hard on passing and finishing games. Unfortunately mother nature decided that one practice was enough for the week and the team was forced to prepare more mentally than physically.

An early start on a cold Sunday morning would test just how prepared the team was. Like trying to start the cars on the cold morning, the girls were a little sluggish as well. After battling through an error-filled, 19-16, first set victory over the Gemini Titans, the girls responded well winning the second set 19-6.

The second match of the day was a 19-13, 19-12 victory over K Elites 14 to set up the final pool play match against the second seed Top Notch 14 Calde out of Springfield, IL. Top Notch was winning their pool play matches in more impressive fashion with aggressive serves so H2 UA realized that they would need to step up their intensity.

In probably their best set of the day, H2 came out nearly error free in a 19-7 victory. Despite words of caution from their coaches on how the second set would be much tougher, the message wasn’t received. However, with the emphasis being on “finishing”, the team persevered and won the second set 19-16 to move to the playoffs.

H2 14 Illini Black knocked off the top seed, MOVA Gold, in the first round of the playoffs to set up and all H2 match in the semi-finals. H2 UA handled their business in earning a 19-8, 19-13 victory and a berth in the finals, and a rematch against Top Notch.

The first set of the finals went back and forth with both teams making more errors than in their pool play match. Again, H2 UA finished strong and held on with a 25-23 win in the first set. The second set started just as close but a big finishing service run from Ella Middleton sealed the deal at 25-18 for the first tourney win of the year for H2 14UA.

Record: 5-0 (10-0 set record), 202 points scored, 132 points allowed
Serve %: 88.3% (Ella Middleton 100%, Ellie Appelbaum 93.8%)
Aces: 37 (Lexie Griffin 9, Rainna Ostmann and Emma Garner 8)
Hitting %: .220 (Gabby Saye .378, Emma Garner .355)
Kills: 74 (Gabby Saye 21, Emma Garner 16, Torie Strange 14)