PLYMOUTH — Coming off a big conference win Tuesday night, Plymouth’s volleyball team wanted to avoid a letdown against non-conference foe Bremen Wednesday.
The Lady Pilgrims took care of business, fighting off the Lions in a nip-tuck third set to put away the visitors in three games at home at The Rock, 25-16, 25-20, 25-20.
“Certainly last night was a big win for us, and we were very excited about that,” said Plymouth volleyball coach Doug West. “Tonight we talked about how we’ve got to get better every match and play at a real high level with lots of energy. And I think the girls worked hard.”
Plymouth pulled away from Bremen early in the first game with a 12-2 stretch highlighted by kills from attackers Amber Redinger and Andria Shook as well as a pair of Redinger blocks to take the first game 25-16. The Pilgrims used that momentum to jump out to a 5-0 lead in the second game and led most of the way but Bremen knotted it up at 19-19 with an 11-6 streak featuring an ace, a tip and a block from senior standout Brooke Baker. At 20-20, Plymouth finally pulled away with the last five points. After two Bremen attacking errors and a Redinger kill, Mikayla German closed out the game with an ace to put the Pilgrims up two games to none, 25-20.
“We’re looking to keep on improving and getting streaky,” said Bremen head coach Beth Huppert. “We always try to stress get out of jail, get out of jail. When we’re in jail, it’s like we’re always stuck in serve receive.”
The third game was nip-tuck most of the way with four ties and a lead change and the Lions nipping at the Pilgrims’ heels throughout. A Plymouth lift gave Bremen its last chance at 23-20 but Redinger and Emily Eveland combined for a block, and Bremen was called for a lift of its own to give Plymouth the game and match point.
“As a team, we’re very young. We have crucial senior leadership, but at times the momentum shifts in the game of volleyball and it has a tendency never to fall our way when you have that big break or that big play,” said Huppert. “That’s what we’re playing for, to get to the end where we can win every big point, but we’re still trying to gel together as a team.”
“I thought we were a little bit off in serve receive, but we’re trying to also speed up our offense a little bit and do a few more combination attacks. We were going to try to work on that a little bit tonight, and we didn’t quite have the passing to do it as much as we would have liked,” said West. “We closed out the game. The girls gave a lot of effort. You can’t have an A-plus game every time. I’m happy with a 3-0 win, and we’ll just keep working hard at fundamentals and moving forward.”
Plymouth was led by Redinger with 11 kills and five blocks as well as Shook’s 12 kills and Marissa German’s eight. Haley Harrell finished with 32 assists and seven digs, and Mikayla German put up 17 digs with an ace. Ellen Smith and Cassi Quissell finished with 12 and 11 digs, respectively, as the Pilgrims moved to 10-12 with their third win in four matches.
“It was a real good team win,” West said. “I felt like our libero Mikayla German did a real nice job throughout the match passing, serving, good digs. Just some good overall spirit and leadership as well, so I was happy for her. It was a good team win, and we hopefully just keep moving forward with a real aggressive approach.”
Baker led Bremen with eight kills, three aces and four blocks, while Cassie Sears finished with six kills and three blocks, and Chelsea Huppert notched four kills with three blocks. Brooke Fitch passed out 14 digs with a pair of aces, and Sabrina Gilley led the Lions in setting with 19 assists as the team slipped to 8-9.
“Brooke really has an impact across the front court and the back,” said Beth Huppert. “She’s a really strong player for us; we’re just always looking for that next person to step up and also give us big things. Every game I talk about ‘This might be your chance to do that.’
“It’s about everyone doing their part,” added the Lady Lions skipper. “It’s a team game, and we couldn’t do it without everyone. Gilley is stepping up her game. I ran a 6-2 for awhile, but I looked at everyone’s strengths, and I think we’re going to try to run a simulated 5-1 just because Gilley’s stepped up her game tremendously.”
Plymouth returns to action in another non-conference match at home next Tuesday against potential Sectional 19 foe John Glenn. Bremen hosts its annual eight-team invitational tournament Saturday in a pool with Elkhart Central, South Bend Riley and Adams.
• PLYMOUTH 3, BREMEN 0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-20)
Kills: Andria Shook 12, Amber Redinger 11, Marissa German 8
Assists: Haley Harrell 32
Digs: Mikayla German 17, Ellen Smith 12, Cassi Quissell 11
Blocks: Redinger 5
Kills: Brooke Baker 8, Cassie Sears 6, Chelsea Huppert 4
Aces: Baker 3, Brooke Fitch 2
Assists: Sabrina Gilley 19
Digs: Fitch 14
Blocks: Baker 4, Sears 3, Huppert 3
Records: Plymouth 10-12, Bremen 8-9
JV score: Plymouth 2, Bremen 0 (25-20, 25-15)