The North Platte St. Pat’s volleyball team earned redemption Tuesday night by sweeping Sutherland, just three days after the Sailors handed the Lady Irish their first loss of the season in the South Platte Valley Association championship match.
St. Pat’s dominated the first two sets Tuesday and closed it out in a hard-fought third set to win 25-9, 25-15, 25-23.
“It was not so much about getting revenge as it was getting back on track,” said St. Pat’s coach Shelly Byrn. “Tonight was a complete turnaround for us; just two ends of the spectrum. That was not my team on Saturday. We were complacent. Tonight, we were back to playing the way we always do.”
The Lady Irish (22-1) made a statement right away in front of a packed McGahan Activities Center. They scored the first three points with Brittany Lawrence making kills on the first two.
After Sutherland (16-6) scored its first two points on a hitting error by Lawrence. The Irish went on to score the next five with Bree Saner serving to take control.
The Lady Sailors never really got back into it. St. Pat’s led as much as 17-4 after Samantha Byrn made ace serves on back-to-back plays.
The Irish started the second set by winning four of the first five plays. But Sutherland came back to pull within 6-5 after an ace by Joli Hopping. But St. Pat’s ran off five more with Byrn serving to take command again and the Lady Irish were one set away from a sweep.
“We were clicking on all cylinders,” Byrn said. “Which hitter are you going to stop? Brittany, Sam and Shelby (Allberry) all did a nice job of hitting the ball. We just played great.”
The third set was the battle everyone expected to see. Both teams battled for momentum in the early parts. But St. Pat’s got out to a lead of 19-16 to get into the driver’s seat.
The Irish went on to hold a 23-20 lead after Lawrence made her second kill in three plays. But the Sailors won the next three points to tie at 23.
St. Pat’s won the battle for the pivotal 24th point after Byrn tipped one down from the left side. In match point, the Lady Irish won it when Jenna Torres made a block that landed just inside the line.
Byrn knew that her team wasn’t going to have a big lead in every set against Sutherland and she was pleased to see her team make clutch plays in the third to end the match early.
“Sutherland’s not going to back down,” she said. “They’re a great team and you can’t let them have the momentum.”