RANDOLPH -- At times, it seemed Class C No. 6 Pierce had a wall at the net with hitters taller than those for No. 2 Stanton.

But the Mustangs kept pounding, and they found enough ways to get around that wall to record a 25-16, 23-25, 25-18 victory over the Bluejays here Tuesday in the midpoint of a triangular.

"Pierce is a tough team," Stanton coach Tracy Kuester said. "They have a wall there at the net. There were times we got blocked, but our girls didn't let it affect them. We adjusted. Sometimes we'd hit harder, or we'd go off-speed, or we'd go toward the outside."

The only problem for the Bluejays? They couldn't get out of their own way at times, and it ultimately cost them. Pierce was charted with 34 errors, 13 in the first set and 10 more in the final set.

"We came out a little flat in the first set. We've been in kind of a slump lately," Pierce coach Katlyn Donovan said. "We got in a slump in the second have of that third set, and you can't give a good team five or six points in a row like that."

They cut the final set to 18-16 after freshman Maggie Brahmer had a hand in three of five-straight points, including two kills, but they committed four hitting errors and a service error before ending the match with a net violation.

Facing an 11-10 deficit in the final set, Stanton earned nine of the next 10 points, starting with back-to-back Jessie Brandl kills before older sister MacKenzie rifled an ace serve to force a Pierce timeout.

After a Shelby Bretschneider kill, Bree Burtwistle blasted across a kill before Hiliary Huss knocked back-to-back kills across to force Donovan to use both of her timeouts in a span of four points. Jessie Brandl added another kill for a 17-12 lead.

Pierce wasn't done yet. Freshman Maggie Brahmer and Bretschneider notched consecutive kills, then Brahmer added another before she and Carly Sutherland combined for a block that suddenly put the Bluejays within two at 18-16.

It was much the same in set one, when Stanton saw a 14-7 lead get cut down to 16-13, mainly because of its own errors around a kill by Wayne State recruit Jaci Brahmer. But Stanton went on a set-ending 9-3 run that included six Pierce hitting errors, and Ali Wade put the exclamation point with a big swing on set point.

In set two, Stanton turned an 11-8 deficit into leads of 14-12 and 18-14, but they couldn't hang on. Jaci Brahmer had three ace blocks, including one to give Pierce the lead at 22-21 to force a Mustang timeout and another to force set point before a Bretschneider kill ended it.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.