Perryville's season ends in Class 3 sectional round

Sunday, October 30, 2011
Perryville coach Dave Mirly stands with his bench, from left, Kaitlyn Ellsworth, Amanda Yamnitz, Brooke Moll, Marissa Erwin, Whitnie Petzoldt and Megan Grubbs at the end of their Class 3 sectional match against Lutheran South on Saturday in Imperial, Mo. Check out more photos from the match at (Fred Lynch)

IMPERIAL, Mo. -- Perryville volleyball coach David Mirly had done his homework on Class 3 sectional foe Lutheran South by watching them play in the district tournament.

He saw trouble when Lancers senior Dana Kaempfe and junior Claire Luther rotated into the front row late in the third game of Saturday's match at Windsor High School.

"They have those two good hitters they played side by side in the front," Mirly said. "When it was 19-19 and they were both in the front row, I knew we had our work cut out for us."

Kaempfe and Luther both had a kill, and they teamed up for a block in the final stretch of Lutheran South's 15-25, 25-17, 25-22 victory that ended Perryville's bid for school history.

The Pirates, who had won district titles in 1991 and 1997, were trying for their second sectional win in school history. They still have not advanced past the quarterfinal round of the state tournament.

Perryville's Alexandra Spears tries to block a shot by Lutheran South's Dana Kaempfe during the first game Saturday.

Lutheran South (24-9-1) also won in three games in the quarterfinal Saturday against Jefferson County Conference runner-up Windsor (28-9) to earn a spot in the final four this week at the Show Me Center.

The Pirates finished 29-4-1, ending a season in which it won the Jefferson County Conference -- its first conference title in 30 years. Their district championship, which ended a 14-year drought, came with a victory against nemesis Notre Dame, which had gone to the final four the last two seasons.

"Right now, it still hurts," Perryville senior Marissa Erwin said. "But we had a very good season, and I couldn't have asked for a better team for my senior season. I'm proud of what we accomplished. Not everyone can say they beat Notre Dame three times in a season."

Erwin, the tallest player on the court at 6 foot 1, had nine kills for the Pirates, including four in the first game to help the Pirates pull away.

Natalie Gremaud had five of her 10 kills in the first game, and Shea Leible added four.

The Pirates pulled away from an 8-7 edge to 12-8, then 16-11. They led 19-15 when Erwin went on a run of three consecutive kills. Leible had two more in the closing stretch, which proved to be a wake-up call for the Lancers.

"The biggest thing was how Lutheran South played," Mirly said. "They made a lot of mistakes early, and they didn't make many mistakes in the second and third games. They picked it up and played better. My girls hung with them and never quit."

The Lancers had three serving errors, five attacking errors and a couple other miscues in the first game, which included one controversial call on a Gremaud spike that first was ruled long. Officials met and decided the ball had been tipped by a Lancers player.

"I think it was just a matter of nerves and getting used to the atmosphere," Lutheran South coach Carol Reinitz said. "I think a couple of those calls were questionable and kind of took the kids out of their mojo, but you've got to be able to play no matter what."

Luther suggested her team had less advance information on Perryville, so the first game was its chance to learn about the Pirates.

"We knew nothing, so we had no idea what to expect," the 5-11 junior said. "We knew they were going to be good. When we realized how they played, we knew what to expect.

"We knew their big middle [Erwin] could swing the ball down, so we had to get a block on her. And also, their outsides really didn't do an approach. They stood out there and swung, so I saw that and we knew to block cross more."

Luther said the Lancers' service reception and passing improved as well.

Lutheran South never trailed in the second game. Luther had six kills and an ace after having no kills and two attacking errors in the first game.

Her back-to-back kills helped the Lancers open a 15-7 lead, and she had two more kills in another spree that took the lead to 20-9.

Perryville made a 5-1 run, including a block and big hit from Erwin, to get within 22-15, but Lancers sophomore Emily Bening attacked over the top of a block with a shot that landed just inside the far corner to slow Perryville's momentum.

Luther had the final kill to end the game.

Perryville led only a few times in the back-and-forth final game. Gremaud's jump serve made it 6-5, and a block from Erwin and freshman Alexandra Spears made it 10-9. Ashley Bachmann won a point with her serve, and Gremaud had a block on Kaempfe for a 13-11 lead.

Luther had the kill that gave Lutheran South a 20-19 lead. Sophomore setter Kristina Piedmonte had a block, then Luther and Kaempfe teamed up on a block to give the Lancers their largest lead yet, 22-19.

Perryville closed within 23-22 on a tip and a block for points by Gremaud, but the Lancers responded with what Kaempfe called the key point -- a weakside attack by Jamie Striler.

Perryville had a setting miscue to close out the match.

"We knew with their height, they were going to get some blocks," Mirly said. "It was important for us to control the ball and run our quick offense so they didn't have time to set up the blocks. We didn't control the ball. Lutheran South just did a better job attacking in the second and third games."

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