CHALMERS — There was nothing to lose.
And Tri-County finally played like it.
The Cavaliers pushed North White to extra points during the third set of their Frontier Sectional quarterfinal Thursday before the Vikings closed out the sweep, 25-13, 25-11, 27-25.
“I told the girls going into game three, ‘What do we have to lose? Let’s start playing volleyball,’” Tri-County head coach Andrea Gretencord said. “‘Just leave it out there, leave it on the floor. But you have to help each other out.’”
Tri-County (2-20) kept pace with North White (16-9) through the first 15 points before the Vikings went on a 7-1 run to take control of the set.
Unlike the first two sets, it didn’t take hold.
North White led 19-10 before the Vikings committed four errors during a five-point Cavaliers runs.
A Peyton Melchi kill closed the deficit within 20-17, and later kills from Sarah Miller (21-19) and Myah Alberts (23-21, 24-22) kept the set close.
A Vikings hitting error put Tri-County within 24-23, and yet another error knotted the frame. Lauren Annis gave North White set and match point, but Johnetta Whitmire coame back with a kill for a 25-all scoreline.
A pair of mental mistakes — allowing two passes over the net to drop unimpeded — were the only things that kept the Cavaliers from continuing toward a fourth set.
“I was very proud of them tonight in game three,” Gretencord said. “What killed us was those two free balls that dropped. If we could have had those, it might have been a different story. That was two points we couldn’t get back, especially on two free balls that dropped right in the middle.”
Added senior middle blocker Myah Alberts, “I just really wish we could have pulled through.”
Alberts collected nine kills, and ace and a block in her final match. Peyton Melchi added six kills.
“It took a little bit for them to get used to that sectional feeling,” Alberts said. “If we could have just played game two and one like we did game three, maybe we could have pulled through.”
Alberts came back to play for Gretencord and has helped guide a shorthanded team that started two freshmen and has just two non-sweep losses this season.
“These girls have so much potential,” she said. “From this summer, from August to now, we have grown so much as a team. I’m so proud of those girls.”
North White raced out to a 9-3 lead in the first set, then held together as Alberts put down a kill and block during a Tri-County run. The Cavaliers closed within 13-8, but the Vikings pulled ahead by 10 at 18-8. Alberts again put together an ace and kill, but Taylor VanWinkle’s aces gave North White a 21-11 lead.
The Vikings ended on a three-point run, and then held another 9-3 lead in the second set. The advantage pushed to 13-5, then 15-7.
A Lynzi Heimlich kill ignited another Vikings run, and North White closed the second set on an 8-2 spurt.
“Somehow we’ve got to find a way to go out and play up to our potential instead of playing down to the other competition,” North White head coach Teresa McIntire said of the third set. “That was a situation where we did not even come close to playing (to) our potential.
“But it’s a win, and we’re moving on. We’ll have to come out and play a lot better.”
Heimlich contributed 20 kills, 10 assists, five blocks and three aces to pace the Vikings. Kinsey Westerhouse added 15 assists, 11 kills and three aces.