Keota wins SICL quads Bronze championship

The Lady Eagles are going into Regional volleyball play on a high after beating both Tri-County and English Valleys to win the Bronze quads Championship.

The Keota Eagles volleyball team finished out the regular season on a high note by winning their final two matches before heading into Regional play. Keota hosted a section of the SICL quads tournament on October 11, beating Tri-County and then beat English Valleys in four sets to win the Championship.

Keota got out to an early 10-1 lead in the first set against the Lady Trojans, which led to a timeout by the visitors. The Lady Eagles were unfazed and continued to dominate, keeping possession for much of the first set. Keota kept extending their lead and held a 21-4 advantage late, finishing it out to win 25-7.

Set two was much closer early on as neither team was able to establish much of a lead as Tri-County managed to hang around. Keota put together a rally which gave them some breathing room and a 19-12 lead. Tri-County was shut down from that point on, only scoring a couple more points as Keota took set two 25-14.

The third set was a continuation of the two previous sets, also starting out close with both teams finding some offense. Keota pulled away again and never had to look back as they rattled off bunches of points, ending up with a 25-12 set win and a sweep of the Lady Trojans.

Lauren Imhoff racked up 26 service attempts in the match, missing only one and led the team with six aces, as well as eight digs. Brianna Duwa had a team high nine assists to go along with three kills. Jaime Schulte led with six kills and Lindsey Imhoff was right behind her with five kills. Addison Sprouse and Addison Swanson also chipped in with four kills apiece.

The Lady Eagles had a break to see who they would play in the Championship between English Valleys and BGM. When it came down to it, Keota wound up facing English Valleys for the third time of the season.

Keota fell behind 4-6 early in the first set but they started to mount a rally behind a couple aces from Swanson, helping them pull ahead 8-7. Following a timeout by English Valleys, Keota found themselves on the other side of a rally and were soon down 11-16, prompting their own timeout. English Valleys maintained a lead over Keota from then on out, handing Keota a 14-25 loss in the opening set.

“They weren’t ready to come off the bench plus Tri-County and EV have two different styles of play,” Lady Eagles coach Teresa Miller said. “I had to get on them a bit but then they realized they had to go. This was the last game on the court for the seniors, and they wanted to finish out on top.”

The Lady Eagles responded by winning four of the first five points in set two, many of which were hard points to come by, and still held onto a 9-4 lead before English Valleys called a timeout. The Lady Bears made multiple comebacks throughout the set, but Keota maintained just enough of a lead to squeak out a big 25-22 win, tying it at one set apiece.

“It was huge for us to win that,” Miller said. “If we would’ve lost that, I’m determined that we would’ve lost the third and gone home in three sets.”

Keota kept the momentum going by taking an early 10-5 lead in set three, then extended their lead 16-7, with play stopped from an English Valleys timeout. The Lady Eagles dominated the rest of the way, resulting in a 25-15 set win. The fourth set would be crucial for both sides as Keota was hoping to end the match and English Valleys was hoping to swing the momentum back to their side and tie it up once more.

The Lady Eagles got out to another sizeable lead to start the fourth set, going up 13-8 before English Valleys called timeout. Keota weathered the comeback attempts by the Lady Bears and continued to find ways to put more points on the board, extending their lead 21-17. Another small rally closed the gap, but Keota would finish it out to win 25-19, winning the match three sets to four.

“It’s very important for us to get ahead early,” Miller said. “If they serve and get three or four points in a row, then we tend to get in a funk and then we’re done for the rest of the game.”

Jaime led Keota with nine kills, Lindsey had eight kills, Sprouse had six kills and Duwa racked up five kills. Jill Schulte led the team with 17 assists and paired that with 18 digs. Sprouse had 25 digs and Lauren was close behind with 21 digs on the match. The Lady Eagles had a total of nine aces, four of which came from Swanson and two from Lauren.

“This gave them a ton of confidence heading into Regionals. We’ve told them all year they’re good and now I think believe they’re playing the best they can,” Miller said. “We’re going to have to talk more and move our feet more. New London will burn us if we don’t do that.”

Keota has a tough draw in Regional play, but they have a bye week to prepare to face New London. The two teams will clash down at New London on October 22.