The ACGC volleyball team certainly lived up to its nickname last night, as the Chargers were indeed "charged up" for their regional quarterfinal match with Madrid. Players and fans alike were pumped from the outset, as the Chargers topped Madrid in three sets, 25-21, 25-13, 25-23 to advance to the regional semifinals.
From the first serve of the match by Olivia Laabs, one could feel the electricity in the air as a boisterous student section and an especially supportive adult crowd got behind the Chargers. It's tournament time, after all. "There's no tomorrow" with a loss tends to bring out more enthusiasm than normal. With its familiar "AC--GC--Chargers" chant for each anticipated spike, the students certainly demonstrated that enthusiasm. The team was ready, the students were pumped, the adults were supportive--a good combination for tournament time.
This is how coach Lyndsey Noe saw the match: "We did a great job of getting leads early in the sets to gain momentum. We controlled the game well with our serves. Our aggressive serves either scored for us or kept them out of system so we could run our offense. When we did side out, we remained poised in order to get the ball back."
In set one ACGC jumped off to a 4-0 and 6-1 leads and led by as many as seven points at 14-7 and 21-14 when Madrid made a comeback. The Tigers closed the gap to a single point at 22-21 when an especially ferocious kill by Mady Smith gave the Chargers a two point lead and seemed to take the spunk out of the Tigers. Set score: 25-21
The Chargers were never threatened in set two, starting out with a 5-0 lead and never looking back. Midway through the match, with ACGC leading 15-6 the best volley of the night occurred when the two teams recorded nineteen digs, sets, and attacks before the Chargers prevailed to score. Set score: 25-13
The final set was much closer. Madrid no doubt sensed that it was a "do or die" situation and gave the Chargers a genuine challenge. After ACGC took a 6-1 lead, the Tigers scored the next six points to take their first lead of the night when they broke a 6-6 tie to take a 7-6 lead. They increased the lead to four points and maintained a lead until the local girls regained the lead at 17-16. After that the teams traded leads until the Chargers broke a 21-21 tie and took the lead for good. Set score: 25-23
"I was especially proud of the girls to keep fighting," Noe commented about the third set. "There have have been times this season we have been unable to come back once we are down in a set. The girls remained focused and finished. For that, I am proud of them. Last night was a great win for the program."
Statistically, MaKayla Hoing led the team in kills with 7, while Olivia Laabs had 6 with an excellent 42% kill efficiency rating. Samantha Sloss led in serving with a perfect 15 of 15, with Hoing going 12 of 13 with 4 aces. Laabs led in aces with 8. The team recorded 9 blocks, with Savana Fuller having 5 and Smith 3. Chelsea Larsen contributed 12 assists and Smith had 11. Hoing led in digs with 22, followed by Laabs with 19.
The win improves the team's overall record to 21-9. A challenge lies ahead, as the Chargers will face fourth ranked and 25-3 Council Bluffs St. Albert at St. Albert's High School this Thursday, Oct 26 at 7 PM. Remember--its tournament time. Anything can happen come tourney time.