McCook had "Ol' Mo" on its side in the Thursday, Sept. 6 battle with Holdrege at the Senior High gym. But the Dusters grabbed momentum late in the third set and kept it en route to a 3-1 win over the Bison.
McCook opened with a 25-21 win in the first set. Holdrege came back with a 25-21 win in the second game. McCook lead 14-9 in the third set, but Holdrege rallied for a 25-20 win, then the visitors dominated the fourth and final set in a 25-11 decision.
"Definitely momentum. That's a big one," Coach Schutte said. "I talked to the girls about that during timeouts, 'You've got the momentum.' At times we had it. 'You've got it, you've got to go with it.' You've got to beat them down (opponent) even farther. And when you don't have the momentum -- a serve, a kill, something to grab it back and go with it.
"(Holdrege) kind of took over there in the third (set) and they ran with it. They definitely took the momentum from us."
SCHUTTE, in her first year as head of the Bison volleyball program, was pleased with her team's effort in the first set.
"When we do things well, we're on. We proved that in the first game," Schutte said. "Actually, the last three matches that we've played, we've came out like that in the first game. When you play that strong right off the bat the very first game, that's impressive. They need to see that that's impressive. That's a good team that can come out right away, start off strong and win that first game.
"That's where we also have to understand and see that we've got to play that tough and that hard. Mentality-wise, too, we've got to stick in there; toughness. And if they (opponent) get a point or two, we've got to come back and earn ours. They're not going to be given to us."
After the strong first game, Holdrege came back and seized control in the second game, helped by McCook miscues. The Bison bounced back in the third set. Rachel Goltl's kill put McCook ahead 9-6. Two straight ace serves by Brooklynn Trew and a Holdrege mishit had the Bison in control at 12-6.
A kill by Kira Johnson and a block by Johnson and Kassidy Gillen gave McCook a 14-8 lead, then Holdrege rallied. The Dusters got within 16-15, but McCook stayed ahead until Julianna Burr tipped a shot for Holdrege to tie the score at 19-19. The visitors then scored three unanswered points, helped by McCook miscues, to lead 22-19.
Danica Liess hit a point for McCook, but Holdrege answered with three straight points -- two coming on McCook miscues -- to close out the set and grab a 2-1 match lead.
McCOOK WAS WITHIN 7-4 in the fourth game after a kill by Miranda Johnson. But the Dusters outscored the Bison 17-4 to set up match point at 24-8. McCook stopped the bleeding with three straight points, including a kill by Kirs Johnson and an ace serve by Riley Allen. But Holdrege middle hitter Rachel Jelden ended the match with a big kill.
Lauren Ruggles led McCook hitters with 9 kills. Gillen added 6 kills, while Goltl and Johnson had 5 kills each. Ruggles led the Bison with 14 defensive digs, and Brenleigh Daum added 13 digs. Trew paced the Bison with 28 assists. Hollliday served 7 points with one ace, and Allen and Daum each served six points -- with two aces by Allen.
McCook slipped to 1-4 on the season, while Holdrege won its fifth match of the season without a loss. The Bison are idle until a Thursday, Sept. 13 trip to Phillipsburg, Kan.
THE BISON COACH hopes her team can dig deep inside and bounce back to find a winning formula.
"It's tough -- it's again going to be a mentally-tough challenge," Schutte said. "When you're winning, when you've got wins on your record, the mental part's a lot easier. It's going to take a lot of strength, and it's going to have to come from the inside. Right now, physical-wise, leadership-wise, all of that kind of stuff, it's going to take that inside strength to keep going and get better every day."