LOOGOOTEE — The Barr-Reeve volleyball team pulled one of the greatest comebacks seen by any team in Jack Butcher Arena in defeating Loogootee in five games Friday night.
Tied at seven in the third game and trailing 2-0 to the Class A fourth-ranked Lady Lions, sophomore Molly Chilton served an unexpected ace. What happened following that time out will be the story of this season as the Class A No. 2 Lady Vikings not only rallied to win the third game, but dominate the fourth and fifth games to claim the upper hand in the Blue Chip Conference title race and possibly the Class A sectional in three weeks time.
Barr-Reeve coach Amber DeCoursey said to her girls not to quit on the floor during that third game. Somehow that seemed to spark the comeback.
"We just basically talked to the girls about not caring about what happens tonight," DeCoursey said in a reference about relaxing in the face of the largest crowd the Lady Vikings will play in all season.
Early on, it seemed the Lady Lions, led by junior hitters Christina Ziegler and Michala Beasley were going to overpower Barr-Reeve. Beasley had three kills and Ziegler had two kills, including the game-winning kill, to defeat the Lady Vikings 25-19.
The second game was much of the same, but closer early on until senior Remington Wagler's kill sparked a Loogootee 8-3 run. Barr-Reeve closed the gap late, but Ziegler and Beasley killed on home the Lion game winners.
DeCoursey said after the game she attributes the early hole her team dug not to nerves or bad play, but Loogootee playing really well on the other side of the net.
"They did what they needed to do and caught us on our heels," DeCoursey said. "I don't think it was we gave up too many points in a row but they were playing well, and earned a lot."
The two teams were trading points in the third game until Chilton's ace. Behind kills from Hannah Bullock and Tracy Graber, the Lady Vikings went on a 9-3 run when Loogootee called time out at 17-12 for Barr-Reeve.
The time out strategy did not work for Loogootee coach Lacey Wade as Barr-Reeve left the 1,000 or so fans screaming as the Lady Vikings ran off a 8-5 run to win, 25-17. Barr-Reeve scored six straight points to seal the win, with help from performances by Skylar Chestnut and Bullock.
The Lady Lions did run out to an early 8-4 lead in the third game, but Barr-Reeve bounced back to trail by one at 12-11 before a time out. With senior Cori Cummings serving, the Lady Vikings scored five straight points, with two aces from Cummings herself, to grab an edge. Wade then called time out with the Lady Vikings up 17-12.
From there, kills from the athletic Bullock and a block by Jenna Knepp just seemed to sap all the confidence from the Lady Lions. A Tanisha Graber ace punctuated the 25-16 win.
The fifth game, only played to 15 points, was all Barr-Reeve. The prowess Lady Lions Ziegler, Beasley and defensive specialist Waylee Wagoner possessed in the opening games was completely gone, as Barr-Reeve went on a 10-1 opening run.
Loogootee did go 7-4 to end, but it was too late as the Vikings took the final game 15-8. DeCoursey said there were times where her team played well.
"I thought there were spurts tonight where our team played really well," DeCoursey said. "But then, there were some places where we were giving up way too many points in a row."
Wade refused to comment on the contest following the game. When pressed for some type of comment, she only said, "We know what we've got to work on before we get to sectional."
DeCoursey, knowing there are two weeks before the sectional draw, said they have to work on consistency. The sectional will be at Jack Butcher Arena this year and in all likliehood, the two teams will meet in the final. Since 2005, the team that was won the sectional has gone on to the state finals in every year except last year.