By Jeremy McDonald
Perrydale have been to this point before battling for the Casco League playoff tournament Championship, having battled Crosshill Christian for it last sesson in a five-set match.
As for St. Paul, their maiden voyage back down at 1A looked to add another piece of hardware to their mantel with a Casco League Tournament Championship to go along with their Casco regular season Championship. And they did just that, winning in straight sets 25-14, 25-11, 25-13 over the Lady Pirates.
But it wasn’t as smooth as it may have looked though.
In the opening set, St. Paul would build a brief lead just to see Perrydale just to draw them in. Case in point, the Buckaroos built a 10-8 lead after Unanimous First Team and All-Casco Tournament team member Isabelle Wyss’ kill only to see the Lady Pirates Honorable Mention Bailey Savage turn a quick point as Perrydale tied the game up at 11 following the six-two’s play.
Wyss handed St. Paul a 13-12 lead, but Honorable Mention Syndey Lawrence answered back as the Pirates tied the game up at 13.
The energy was there for Perrydale to start as they came off a four-set win over Crosshill Christian to get to this game, but it seemed as if the gas in the gas tank ran out as they couldn’t find an answer for the Buckaroos Wyss or St. Paul cleaning up the edges of their game to pull away in the first set.
“It was super important, I think just playing together and pulling through at the end. Missing our serves at the beginning was kind of hard but we came back and made the rest, so it’s great,” said St. Paul’s Karlee Southerland, who garnered second-team all-honors recognition as they prepare for State. “Just keep working in practice, we have our five practices until State so we’ll be working hard.”
“I think the reason why we didn’t play as well as we could have that game was because we gave our all in the very first match and the very first game we played with them,” adds Perrydale’s Alyssa Lux, who got first-team all-league honors and an all-tournament nod. “Then I think we were all so lethargic and tired that we couldn’t keep up with ourselves, that just shows that we just need to get back into shape, get back to it and keep it going and all that good stuff.
“Conditioning, that’ll be an important part and mental. It’s all just a mental game, we all just got to make sure that we’re mentally there and not thinking of anything outside of Volleyball. Our focus has to be on Volleyball and making sure we over-exert on every little thing, focus on every little thing.”
St. Paul’s Erin Counts and Emma Connor too were first-team all-league with Lux. Counts, Lux, Wyss and the Pirates Sydney Perkins were also named to the All-Tournament team as well.
But it was the Buckaroos who showed what they have all season long as they flexed their collective muscle to take the second set and built a sizable third set lead before cycling in their bench to get some reps in before the bracket play begins here in a few days as they enter the postseason as the number one team in State at 26-0.
“We saw the things we need to improve on and we know that there’s always competition. We always got to get better,” said St. Paul’s Connor, who got first team All-league and All-Tournament Honors “Just being on our toes, always just working on the little things.”
Perrydale, who are entering the State Playoffs as the number two seed and 24-6 overall, host Mohawk Wednesday to open the 1A State Playoffs at 6pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald