The number nine will haunt the Concord volleyball team for quite some time. That’s how many points the Yellow Jackets were up on the state’s No. 1-ranked team in the first set of Tuesday’s Class C regional semifinals.
A gradual rally by Mendon, however, flipped the script and set the tone for the rest of the match as the Hornets went on to sweep Concord 25-22, 25-10, 25-20 to set up a Thursday championship against host Adrian Madison.
Down 18-9, Hornets head coach Kathy Trenary called a timeout. Her son and assistant coach, Bill Trenary, delivered a simple message: “‘You’re pressing; you’re trying to hit everything too hard. They’re blocking and digging [shots] and you’re just trying to hit harder. You just need to back off and ease into your game.”
“We were pretty much going to lose that first game. That really helped them; it seemed to settle them down,” Kathy Trenary said.
Mendon went on a 7-1 run and eventually tied things up at 20 points apiece. Concord (39-11-5) never recovered from the monumental reversal of momentum.
“It was an amazing comeback,” Kathy Trenary added. “It was pretty neat. We crawled our way back; we didn’t just storm our way back with one server. We got a point here, gave up a point there, got two points there. It was 20-20 when we finally caught them.
“It certainly affected [Concord] in the second game. The third game they rallied a little bit, but they just couldn’t stay with us. They were having doubts about things working and our offense is just pretty potent. It really affected their second game.”
Brooke Howard and Jordan VanOss each tallied 13 kills and two aces for Mendon (47-7-2). VanOss also led the team with 16 digs, while Howard had 12. Alexis Russell served four aces, registered three blocks and finished with 13 digs, and Loryn Baughman posted 29 assists and four blocks.
A two-hour bus ride was compounded by having to sit through Adrian Madison’s win over Galesburg-Augusta in the first semifinal match of the evening. It did prove useful in terms of scouting, but the Hornets are looking forward to getting off the bus Thursday and getting straight to work at 6:30 p.m.
“[Adrian Madison isn’t] very tall but [they’re] really tough,” Kathy Trenary explained. “They’ll refuse to lose. I’m really glad we got to see them play. That was like three and a half, almost four hours of wanting to play and having to wait some more. I think just a two-hour bus ride and just an hour before the game … I think it will go a little bit better.”