The North Platte St. Pat's volleyball team got two more wins on Thursday beating Ogallala and Ainsworth in a triangular at the McGahan Activities Center.The Lady Irish (8-0) made quick work of Ainsworth to start out, sweeping the Bulldogs 25-15, 25-10.
It took a while for St. Pat's to get going against what was a warm-up for mighty Ogallala.
"We didn't play our best against Ainsworth," said Irish coach Shelly Byrn. "I think we looked past them a little bit and you can't do that against anybody."
But St. Pat's rose to the occasion against Ogallala with a 25-27, 25-22, 25-15 victory over the Lady Indians, who are ranked No. 8 in Class C1.
In the second match though, the Lady Irish were put to the test early. Ogallala got out to a 5-1 lead and the Indians led throughout the set to have setpoint at 24-19.
But that was when the Irish came to play. Samantha Byrn made a kill to give the serve to Kari Slattery and then Brook Boucher and Shelby Allberry came up with blocks to make it 24-22.
A net violation by Ogallala (8-6) on the following play brought St. Pat's to one point and then Jessica Paloucek hit the ball out of bounds to tie the score at 24 points.
Sidney Mell made a kill on the next play to end Slattery's run and give the Indians another setpoint. But Allberry tied it up again with a kill of her own.
Mell then got another kill on the X-Play for another Ogallala setpoint and the Lady Indians took the first set when Boucher hit a ball that appeared to be tipped out. But no tip was called and the first set went to Ogallala.
"Our serving hurt us," Byrn said. "We missed five in the first set and you can't do that against a good team. But what a great comeback. The end of the first set set up the second and third for us."
The Irish jumped on the Indians in the second, taking a 6-2 lead after Boucher tipped one down. Ogallala came back by winning five of the next six plays to tie.
But Allberry made kills on back to back plays to give St. Pat's the lead for good. The Lady Irish got some breathing room at 17-13 after an ace by Brittany Lawrence and the lead grew to 23-16.
The Lady Indians didn't go easily. They ran off the next four with Mell serving to come within 23-20. Then they got within one at 23-22 with a kill by Morgan Reed.
But Byrn made a kill to give setpoint to St. Pat's and Lawrence finished it off on the next play with a kill in the middle.
"We let them back in it and Ogallala's just a great team," said Byrn. "They're just going to take it to you."
The Irish dominated the third set as they got out to a 7-1 lead and led as much as nine points before finishing Ogallala at 25-15 and getting Coach Byrn's first victory against the Indians.
"Our girls just came out and played well," Byrn said of the third set. "I told them 'we can't let them back in again'. You know Ogallala is going to score points. You've just turn it back on them."
Playing Ogallala for the first time since facing the Lady Indians at the North Platte Community College Invite about a half-decade ago was a win-win for Byrn's team because it allowed St. Pat's to find if it had what it takes to beat the type of competition it would see in the state tournament.
"Win or lose, I was just glad that we got to play some good competition," said Byrn.