Momentum wasn’t on the side of North Platte St Pat’s on Sept. 15 when they were swept by Gothenburg at the McGahan Activities Center.
The Swedes took all three sets — 25-18, 25-14, 25-11.
“When you’re an inconsistent serving team and they pass the ball as well as they do, they took advantage,” St. Pat’s coach Maddy Krebs said. “Our passing game was definitely off.”
St. Pat’s (7-5) led 15-12 in the first set. But Kynlee Strauser made a kill to give the serve back to Gothenburg (6-2).
After winning the next point, the Swedes tied at 15 when Bella Rickertsen made a kill from the left side. Then Aubrey O’Hare made a kill in the middle to give them the lead.
Gothenburg then won the next four points with Emily Cornwell serving to take control. The Lady Irish only scored two points in the rest of the set and the Swedes took the early advantage.
“Our mental game is what needs consistency,” Krebs said. “(They need to) understand the momentum can shift very easily in volleyball and we just got to work on getting the consistent passes and siding back after being down and not giving up just because the other team gets a rally.”
Gothenburg then scored the first four points with Cornwell serving again and they dominated the whole way through to move within a set of victory.
“They came out on fire and our block struggled against them tonight,” Krebs said. “We’ve had a good block all season but we just didn’t match them on the block. They found the holes in our defense. They’ve got some really good hitters and they’re young. They’re going to be really good competition for us.”
The Swedes also scored the first three points of the third set. But St. Pat’s fought back and took the lead at 5-4 after hitting errors by O’Hare and Clara Evert.
The Irish then followed with the next two points with an ace served by Tonja Heirigs and a kill by Mae Siegel.
But a hit by Gothenburg’s Kaileigh Gilligan on the left side was ruled just in bounds, stopping the run by St. Pat’s.
The Swedes regained the lead at 9-8 on a kill by Strauser from the left side.
It became 10-8 when Irish libero Jenna Kimberling couldn’t get to a short serve by O’Hare.
O’Hare then got another ace to make it a three-point lead and St. Pat’s called timeout.
But the Irish continued to unravel as O’Hare’s run continued for four more plays and the Swedes were in full control up 15-8.
St. Pat’s couldn’t get back in it after that and Gothenburg came away with the sweep.
Krebs said as disappointing as her team’s performance was, it’s just another bump in the road and she’s confident the Irish will learn from.
“We are improving every single game and we are young,” Krebs said. “The things they’re learning every single game will make us come together by the end of the season. We’re going to be fine.”
Next, the Irish will play in the North Platte Community College Invitational on Saturday.