COUNCIL BLUFFS — Whoever said the last point is the hardest to get looked like a genius Tuesday night.
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln squandered third-set leads of 11-5 and 14-10, and six match points in all before extinguishing Sergeant Bluff-Luton 16-25, 25-11, 18-16 in a Missouri River Conference volleyball thriller at the A.L. Fieldhouse.
“We were up six, and then I don’t know what happened,” Lynx junior libero Bailee Gofta said. “We just got in a rut for a little while. But we came back up again.”
Abraham Lincoln, rated fourth in western Iowa (Class 5-A/4-A/3-A) by The World-Herald, ended the MRC triangular with a 25-13, 25-7 win against Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson to improve to 21-5 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Unrated Sergeant Bluff-Luton rebounded with a 25-22, 25-15 win over Thomas Jefferson (3-10, 0-4), and is now 8-4 and 1-1.
In the Sergeant Bluff match, Abraham Lincoln was knocked on its heels in the opening set as the Warrior attackers and blockers beat the Lynx to the punch. Six-foot senior middle Kelsey Krohn led Sergeant Bluff with four kills.
Abraham Lincoln coach Brittany Ridenour said the back row was a half-step slow.
“We were letting too many tips go down,” said the 24-year-old Ridenour, who played at Baylor and is in her first year coaching her alma mater. “We needed to be hitting the floor and outhustling the other team.”
The Lynx were much sharper in the second set. Six-foot senior outside hitter Victoria Krohn had four kills and Delaney Bolton and Lauren Colpitts added three apiece as the hosts cruised into the final set, a race to 15. Hannah Hennings’ kill seemingly put Abraham Lincoln in command, up 11-5, but then the tide turned.
Still leading 13-10, Victoria Krohn put down a kill to give the Lynx four match points. Sergeant Bluff snuffed all of them out with some spectacular blocking. After a Kelsey Krohn kill, she had a solo block and then joined Lauren Waite and Brianna Eaton for big double blocks that evened the match 14-14.
Kelsey Johnson’s kill gave Abraham Lincoln a fifth match point at 15-14, but Eaton pounded the equalizer. Colpitts put the Lynx on top again with a kill, but Eaton responded with another boomer for 16-16.
The Warriors were called in the net to give Abraham Lincoln a seventh try, and Sergeant Bluff smacked one into the net to end it.
“I’ve been telling the girls, ‘That’s how we should play every single time, with that intensity, that level of energy, every single point, not just when we know we can’t let a ball drop,’ ” Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s second-year coach Leah Nielsen said.
The Warriors have an array of tall, talented athletes who might be more well-known in other sports. They haven’t played as many matches as some schools, and are not state rated. They might be flying under the radar in Class 3-A.
“I think we are not as looked at, but we don’t travel to as many tournaments, and that’s something that we need to change,” Nielsen said.
Victoria Krohn led A.L. with 11 kills, while Bolton added 10 and Colpitts and Johnson pitched in seven and six, respectively.
In the next match, undersized Thomas Jefferson nearly took the opening set from Sergeant Bluff, drawing praise from its coach for competing.
“I thought we made progress in that match,” Lady Jackets coach Mike Bond said. “We took steps forward. We did things that we practiced. We ran the ball in system. We served them out of system many a time, I thought. For us to survive, we have to serve a team out of system.”
Sergeant Bluff-Luton ...... 25 11 16
CB Abraham Lincoln ....... 16 25 18
SBL (kills-aces-blocks): Lauren Waite 1-0-1, Sydney Scholz 5-0-0, Brianna Eaton 6-0-3, Kelsey Krohn 9-0-5, Kelsey Kanaby 0-0-0, Miles Ludwigs 8-1-1, Amber Schubert 4-1-1.
AL: Samantha Bohnet 0-0-0, Bailee Gofta 0-0-0, Krechele Brown 0-0-0, Lauren Colpitts 7-0-1, Deana Roth 1-0-0, Victoria Krohn 11-1-0, Hannah Hennings 1-0-1, Kelsey Johnson 6-0-1, Delaney Bolton 10-1-1.
Set assists: SBL, Eaton 17, Kanaby 5, Scholz 4, Becker 1, Ludwigs 1. AL, Bohnet 30, Bolton 1.
CB Thomas Jefferson (3-10, 0-4) .... 13 7
CB Abraham Lincoln (21-5, 4-0) ...... 25 25
TJ (kills-aces-blocks): Anna Lambrecht 0-0-0, Brianna Pullen 0-0-0, Cheyenne Pecha 0-0-0, Kaeleen Garcia 0-0-0, Cathryn O’Hara 0-0-1, Rachel O’Neal 1-0-0, Kennedy Lundberg 3-0-0, Alexis Alcaraz 1-0-1, Payton Riche 0-0-0, Libby Havenridge 3-1-0.
AL: Samantha Bohnet 1-0-0, Bailee Gofta 0-0-0, Kaitlyn Murphy 2-1-1, Krechele Brown 0-0-0, Lauren Colpitts 3-0-0, Paige Wohlers 0-0-0, Deana Roth 0-0-0, Victoria Krohn 7-0-0, Hannah Hennings 2-0-2, Kelsey Johnson 3-0-1, Delaney Bolton 2-3-0, Lauren Nahnsen 4-2-0.
Set assists: TJ, Garcia 5. AL, Bohnet 23.