North Platte St. Pat’s couldn’t keep the momentum from its big second set win over Gothenburg on Tuesday and they fell in four sets to the Swedes at the McGahan Activities Center.
Gothenburg won the match by a score of 25-23, 10-25, 25-20, 25-17.
“We’re up, we’re down, we know volleyball’s a game of momentum,” St. Pat’s coach Shelly Byrn said. “Gothenburg just played with a little bit more heart and they wanted it more than us. We’ve just gotta learn not to let down and when we make a mistake, we’ve got to turn the page. We’ve got six or seven seconds to regroup and get ready to play the next point and sometimes we get too far down and it’s hard to get out of that hole.”
The Swedes (2-4) took an 11-6 lead after Elise Ackerman made a kill on the left side that landed just in front of the back line.
St. Pat’s (3-6) chipped away. The Irish pulled to within 15-14 after an ace served by Kaleigh Kummer that was passed backwards by Kendal Wahlgren. But Gothenburg regrouped and they built the lead back up to three.
But the Lady Irish didn’t go away. They tied at 19 when Kummer blocked an overpass by Jamie Graff in the middle. Then they took the lead when Ackerman’s cross court shot from the left side landed just over the line.
But Amaya Ackerman made a kill in the middle to tie it again and then Rachel Heiss had two straight hitting errors for the Irish, giving Gothenburg a two-point lead. St. Pat’s then won the next two plays on a kill by Kummer and an ace served by Heiss off the libero, Jaiden Davis, and it was tied again.
But Heiss served the ball, giving the lead back to the Lady Swedes. Wahlgren then blocked Abbi Allberry on the right side to bring Gothenburg within one point of taking the first set.
Kummer tipped one down in the middle to keep the set going before Lauren Johnson made a kill on the left side to end it.
“We gave them quite a few points and they gave us quite a few points too and I think it could’ve gone either way,” Byrn said. “We got in our groove it was a good first set.”
The second set was all Irish. They took control with a lead of 11-2 after Kinsey Skillstad served for seven straight points. St. Pat’s never let the Swedes back in it and the match was even at one set, apiece.
“We came out and just exploded out of the gates,” Byrn said.
The Lady Irish took a 5-2 lead in the third set after kills by Allberry and Kummer. But Gothenburg stormed back with four straight to take their first lead of the set on an ace by Amaya Ackerman.
Both teams battled for the next few points. But the Lady Swedes started to pull away, taking a 16-12 lead after Amaya Ackerman tipped one down in the middle to follow an ace by Davis. St. Pat’s never got closer than three the rest of the way and Gothenburg was in the driver’s seat.
“In the third set, we turned around and we were not the team I know,” Byrn said. “But hopefully, they’re stepping stones that are going to take us where we need to be.”
The Irish never found much footing in the fourth set. The Swedes went up 7-3 and they held on the rest of the way to pick up the win.
“I feel like they shut down and stopped playing together as a team,” Byrn said. “That’s something we need to work on. We need to be more focused and more positive with each other and know we can turn things around.”