BREMEN — Bremen’s one-two punch of Chelsea Huppert and Cassie Sears is hard to handle under any circumstances. Throw in a surging Shelby Zellmer, and it can make for a short night for opponents.
Huppert and Sears finished with 15 and 13 kills, respectively, and Zellmer stepped up big with seven of her own as the Lady Lions put away visiting John Glenn in three games in a Northern State Conference volleyball match at Bremen Monday, 25-15, 25-20, 25-10.
Bremen head coach Beth Huppert alternated Chelsea and Sears to good effect, keeping the Bremen attack fresh throughout the night. Zellmer’s breakout night provided a nice surprise for the Lions as the home team varied up its attack and Glenn managed just one block on the night.
“That was the key. It doesn’t always work out that way, but we like it when it does,” said Bremen’s skipper of her team’s varied attack. “Sears and Huppert have both played extensive winter club ball, so we’re balancing them so that we always have an attacker. Zellmer was a surprise for us tonight. Her hitting efficiency, she was probably like 700 percent in hitting, which that was a rare thing. So we’ll take that celebration and run with it.”
“We missed a couple serves right in a row and that kind of got the momentum down. With the girls, once they get down it takes a couple points to get them going again,” said Glenn head coach Ashlee Fansler. “We let them have a couple of runs where we didn’t break the serve. Blocking, we didn’t get up on their hitters. Their hitters are good.”
After a somewhat slow start for both teams, Bremen grabbed the early match momentum Monday.
Trailing 2-3 in the first set, Bremen went on a 10-2 tear to take a 12-5 lead and force a Glenn timeout. The Falcons rallied back with their own 5-1 spurt to pull within seven at 22-15, but it was too little, too late as the Lions closed out the opener with three unanswered points punctuated by a Huppert cross court kill.
“Bremen was ready to play. We got off to a slow start, and it definitely showed in the momentum. Communication wasn’t there; we weren’t talking,” said Fansler.
The visitors started stronger in the second game, playing Bremen neck and neck to a 13-all tie, but the Lions took the lead on a Zellmer kill and never looked back to close out the second game 25-20. That second loss seemed to take some of the wind out of Glenn’s sails, and the home team led pretty much from the get-go in game three. Sears capped off the night — the Lions senior’s birthday — with her 13th kill to finish off the Falcons, 25-10.
“Typically how we’ve been playing this season if we can get the first set and then take that second set, then they do get stronger,” said Beth Huppert. “We’ve been battling in our losses, it’s just not winning the second set or not come out strong enough in the first set and trying to get back in the match. I was proud that we were able to come back and stay on top.”
Along with Huppert’s, Sears’ and Zellmer’s front row heroics, Sabrina Gilley passed out a copious 38 set assists, while Brooke Fitch and Rachael Czarnecki logged 18 and eight digs, respectively. Czarnecki served up two aces, and Huppert recorded three blocks as the only Lady Lion with multiple solo blocks in the win, which pushes the team out to 14-6 overall and a 2-1 NSC start that leaves the team in the hunt for a top conference finish.
“We’d like to think that other people will get Knox and that we can still get a chance to come out of it in the top layer of the conference,” Beth Huppert said.
Glenn was led by Madison Strycker’s six kills and Alexis Ennis’ five. Alexis Lichtenberger and Kyler Columbia split setter duties with nine and eight assists respectively, while Macy Jankowksi and Larissa Edmaiston gave the Glenn back row a boost with 10 and eight digs, respectively. Jenna Adams finished with two aces for Glenn, which slid to 12-7 with a 2-2 NSC mark.
Fansler questioned her team’s focus at the start of Glenn’s homecoming week, and she hopes to see a better effort as the Falcons get right back to work in the NSC with a match versus Culver Community tonight.
“It’s definitely a Monday, so they were a little hard to get going. They have a lot going on with homecoming this week, so I’m not sure they were quite as focused as what they should’ve been,” Fansler said.
“We definitely need to be ready to go tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll be more focused and ready to go right at the beginning. Culver’s a tough team also. We’ve played them in a tournament already and they took us two tight games so we’ve got to be ready to go.”
• BREMEN 3, JOHN GLENN 0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-10)
Kills: Chelsea Huppert 15, Cassie Sears 13, Shelby Zellmer 7
Aces: Rachael Czarnecki 2
Assists: Sabrina Gilley 38
Digs: Brooke Fitch 18, Czarnecki 8
Blocks: Huppert 3
Kills: Madison Strycker 6, Alexis Ennis 5
Aces: Jenna Adams 2
Assists: Alexis Lichtenberger 9, Kyler Columbia 8
Digs: Macy Jankowski 10, Larissa Edmaiston 8
Records: Bremen 14-6 (2-1 NSC), Glenn 12-7 (2-2 NSC)
JV Score: Glenn 2, Bremen 1 (25-16, 17-25, 15-12)