Was it the “Curse of the Bambino” or some other evil force at work which resulted in Sully Buttes overcoming a 7 point deficit in the fifth set to rob the Battlers of their best chance ever to finally beat the Chargers and end the winning streak that the Chargers have had on them for the past several years? Potter County had the Chargers down 13 to 6, and all they needed were 2 more points to finally stop the agony of defeat that they have been suffering at the hands of their arch-rivals from the south for way too long. However, it was as if a curse or other mysterious phenomenon was summoned up because all of sudden there was nothing the Battlers could do to stop the Chargers from winning the game.
The Battlers beat Sully Buttes in the first set 25 to 21. Tension was high and emotions were on edge because when the score was 22 to 21 it felt like the Chargers were going to steal the win. But the girls gelled and got the last three points of the set. Then in the second set it was another slug-fest because the girls prevailed and won the set 25 to 23. Both teams traded punches continuously throughout the set because at the last timeout of the set it was 21 to 20 in favor of the Battlers. Yet again, it felt like the Chargers were going to grab it away but no, the Battlers held strong.
Sad to say, in the third set the Battlers started off feeling good and had big smiles on their faces until Coach Jamie Cronin called a timeout when the score became 15 to 16 because the Chargers had just come from behind to take the lead. There were two more timeouts called because the Battlers were sputtering and, in the end, they could not regain the lead and finally fell 21 to 25. Then in the fourth set the Chargers again came from behind and when the score was tied at 18 points apiece, Coach Cronin called a timeout, but the girls just could not stop the momentum and Sully Buttes went on to win this set as well 25 to 22, forcing a fifth and final set.
In the fifth and decisive set, the Battlers came out hot and had their arch-rivals down 13 to 6, when Sully Buttes Coach Brielle Bohle called a timeout to break the energy of the Big Red Machine. Whatever enchantment was spun, or demons summoned up from the deepest caverns of the underworld, the wheels fell off for the Battlers. If you were a Potter County supporter watching live in the gymnasium or on livestream, it physically hurt to see the girls give this game away to the one team they have wanted to beat so bad for the past four years – if not longer. When everyone could see the Battlers committing one error after the next, the gym went from respectfully subdued to an all-out ruckus. The Sully Buttes football players who made the trip up were screaming and their cheering became deafening to those who wanted nothing more to finally beat Sully Buttes. But to the shock of Potter County Nation, the final kill went to the Chargers and they pulled out an unbelieveable comeback to beat the Battlers 17 to 15.
KiTu LeBeau had the game of her career in this match, yet instead of feeling exuberant, she was distraught and disappointed. Overall, she had 17 successful serves out of 19, and 2 were aces. She was second in kills with 12, whereas Autumn Pitlick led with 14. She blocked Number 19, Angela Guthmiller, the Chargers big hitter, and got credit for another blocking assist. She was tied with Jenna Robbennolt for the most digs at 16. She did everything she could – even took down the net after the game – but like the rest of the team she was in mourning as well as hoping and praying there is one more chance yet this season during regional play to avenge not only this lost but all the other losses they suffered at the hands of this team for the past four years.
All the seniors did play well, and sophomore Dakota Goebel stepped up big time, but again errors at the worst time not only opened the door for the Chargers to win but kept their winning streak against Potter County alive. Maybe the return of players on the injured/reserve list will tighten up the defense and add that extra punch needed to win close games. Until then it might be prudent to call a priest to offer a blessing or burn some sage to finally release the girls from the Curse of the Bambino or whatever paranormal force is afflicting them when it comes to playing the rival team wearing the purple and gold.
Fortunately, there was no heartache or despair in either the JV or C Team games because the Battlers won both matches. In the JV game the Battlers easily handled the Chargers by beating them in straights sets: 25 to 18 and 25 to 14. These undercard games are to sharpen the girls’ skills and abilities, and clearly these young ladies are improving. Dakota Goebel got 5 kills in this game and Makenna Miller added another 3, Abbie Larson contributed 2, and Osprey Vetter got 1. Defensively the Battlers made it hard for their guest to score because 8 of them tallied digs. In the C Game the Battlers won 25 to 12 and 25 to 20. Megan Hermann shined in this game by recording 5 kills, 6 digs, and 1 ace. Also having a great game was Taelor Zweber because she tallied 4 kills, 9 digs, and 2 aces.
Varsity Game Stats – Serving: 102 of 109 / 4 Aces: Leaders: KiTu LeBeau – 2 Aces, Autumn Pitlick – 1 Ace; Attacks: 146 of 168 / 45 Kills: Leaders: Autumn Pitlick – 14 Kills, KiTu LeBeau – 12 Kills, Jenna Robbennolt – 9 Kills, Dakota Goebel – 8 Kills; Setting: 143 of 143 / 43 Assists: Leaders: Cassidy Goebel – 41 Assists; Blocks: 1 Blocks 4 Block Assist: Leaders: KiTu LeBeau – 1 Solo 1 Block Assist, Jenna Robbennolt – 2 Block Assists; Digs: 100: Leaders: KiTu LeBeau – 16 Digs, Jenna Robbennolt – 16 Digs, Autumn Pitlick – 15 Digs.
POTTER COUNTY NEWS SPORTS