IMPERIAL – For the second time in as many nights, the Pattonville girls volleyball team stared adversity in the eye and didn’t blink.
After blowing a big lead in the first set in a Suburban Conference Green Pool match at Seckman on Wednesday, the Pirates rallied to take the second set. Senior captain Keeley Peters went on a dominant serving run in the third set to propel Pattonville to a 25-27, 25-23, 25-15 victory.
“We are always aggressive,” Peters said. “As a team we all talked, we all worked together and it’s never just one, it's one for all.”
Peters finished with 10 kills and five aces, four of which found the floor in the third set. Co-captain Samantha Schuler put down nine kills and Mackenzie Seagraves had 31 assists and a pair of aces for Pattonville (9-3-1, 3-0).
Coming through in the clutch has become a theme for Pattonville, which erased a 22-15 deficit to shock Fox on Tuesday night.
“We can sit on the bench as coaches and we’re not even nervous,” Pattonville coach Kyle Walsh said. “It’s something about this group of girls that they’re comfortable in these types of tight games over and over and over that I hope it carries us into bigger games down the line.”
Kills by Peters and Kelsey Mack and two more spikes by Schuler helped give the Pirates a 16-9 lead in the third set before Peters iced the game from the service line with three straight aces to make it 22-12.
Spikes from Paige Rowland and Schuler clinched the match.
“The game is so tight and you just have to keep fighting,” Seagraves said. “But when you get those three easy points, it gets us higher.”
Tayler Neal had 10 kills, a block and three aces for Seckman (3-1, 1-1). Erin Treis had eight kills, a block and an ace and Treis and Madi Robinson combined for 24 assists.
“That third set we’re still scratching our heads what happened,” Seckman coach Paula Baechle said. “We just had the discussion about mental toughness. That was a mental third set and our girls have never had to play a third set, so it was a learning experience.”
Pattonville jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the first set behind Seagraves’ serve.
“We’re still trying to work on that chemistry, where can they mesh with their teammates, we’re changing rotations,” Baechle said. “It’s about trusting their teammates.”
But Seckman got back into the set with a late 9-3 run. Neal had three kills and Treis added two more spikes as the Jaguars evened the set at 23-all.
A Riley Howdeshell kill erased a Pattonville set point and Cate Casey gave Seckman a 26-25 lead before a Neal spike capped the comeback.
“We’ve been doing this to ourselves all season,” Walsh said. “A lot of close games, a lot of three-set matches, we’ve played upwards of 20 sets in the last five days counting the tournament we played over the weekend. Even though we’re tired, we’re aggressive all the way and you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some.”
A pair of Treis kills gave Seckman a 20-16 advantage in the second set, but Peters answered with two of her own and Mack followed with another spike to get the Pirates back into it.
“If my middle is coming for the hit and I see their blockers are right there, sometimes you just go outside or right-side to the pins for the one-on-one matchups and it's really easy for the hitters to move their swings around the blocks when they only have one block,” Seagraves said.
Mack put down another spike to tie the set 23-all and a Rowland block and a Schuler sent the match to the third set.
“We don’t really tip a whole lot, we don’t roll shot, we don’t serve short, we stay aggressive,” Walsh said. “We put the pressure on the other teams to make errors by swinging hard and staying in that motion and once we went into that second game and made the comeback, the third match we didn’t turn off the gas.”