The Tri-City United volleyball team into this season with a goal of taking it to another level.
But while the No. 4-seeded Titans fell Tuesday in three sets to St. Peter (25-20, 25-20, 25-11) in the Section 2AA South Subsection semifinals, Tri-City United made good on its goal by winning six more games than in 2018.
The St. Peter-TCU match featured a battle of the Saints’ middle hitters versus the Titans’ middle blockers.
“We had a job we set out to do, and that was to try to block St. Peter’s middle hitters,” first-year TCU head coach Renae Chappuis said. “It was a good matchup at the net, and I thought they work hard. I thought there were a few times where we had momentum swings with some missed serves. But you can’t predict that. It’s a matter of how well you get over it going forward.”
The Saints, who had 42 kills to the Titans’ 18, just had too much firepower for the Titans to overcome.
Senior middle hitter Brielle Bushaw led the Saints with 14 kills and two blocks, and she picked up one dig. Senior middle hitter Sarah Conlon notched 10 kills, four ace serves, four set assists and three digs. Maggi Pierret collected six kills and two digs.
Senior setter Paige Hewitt ran the offense with 31 set assists. She also led with four digs, three kills and seven servicing points
Remmert, who served 100 percent, led with 15 service points and had four kills, three digs and one ace serve. Chabot had 10 service points, five kills, one dig and one ace serve. McCabe notched four set assists and one dig. VanZee had one dig.
The Titans took its only lead in the second set by as much as 10-5. But the Saints roared back to tie it 10-10 on a pair of kills by Bushaw and one by Remmert. Bushell nailed another kill to give the Saints the lead for good 13-12, and Chabot served hit a trio of serves to make it 15-12.
TCU improved from just 5-25 last season to 11-19 this season.
“This season overall was the season of humongous leaps and bounds and growth,” Chappuis said. “TCU had not had a strong volleyball program in years, and this has been a huge building year. They have gone above and beyond as a team, more than I’ve asked, and they’ve really learned the game inside and out.”
“The girls had highs and lows just like any other volleyball game. I would like our passing to be a little more on. I would have like our quickness to be there, but overall we played to the best of our ability we could for the evening.”
The Titans will lose just two seniors to graduation, but they will be big losses, setter Ellie Singleton and middle hitter Holly Schendel. “That will definitely be felt,” Chappuis said. “I’m grateful it’s only two and not more. But, yes, it’s key components.”
The Titans have a number of key players returning.
“I think next year if we can continue with the forward progress that we’ve made in the season as a whole, I think that we could have an even better season next year,” Chappuis said.