Gillett falls to top-ranked Tigerton in volleyball regional semifinal

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Tigers opened playoffs with upset win

Gillett sophomore Aubrey DeBauch goes up for an attack kill while junior Sophie Horsens (12) and sophomore Karissa Schaal (11) look on during a Division 4 regional opener against Bowler on Oct. 16. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

After a shaky regular season, the Gillett High School volleyball team was hoping the postseason would be like a fresh start.

Gillett got the postseason off on an upswing by upsetting Bowler 25-15, 25-16, 25-7 on the road Oct. 16 but saw its season come to a close in a stiff test against top-seeded Tigerton on Thursday. Tigerton won by scores of 25-19, 25-17, 28-26.

“The Gillett volleyball team went into the season optimistic and working hard,” Gillett coach Keri Hicks said. “Unfortunately, we fell short of our goals and struggled to finish off matches. The team worked very hard at practices and learned more than just volleyball skills. We enjoyed our team meals and the bonding time it allowed us.”

Karissa Schaal led Gillett against Tigerton with eight attack kills, while Emelie Horsens and Grace Wickman each added five. Sophie Horsens recorded a team-high nine assists, while Emily Umentum had five.

Sophie Horsens and Schaal each finished the night with 14 digs; Emelie Horsens had seven.

“We felt prepared going into the Tigerton playoff game but got beat by a better team,” Hicks said.

Tigerton also topped second-seeded Gresham in the regional final and advances to the sectional semifinal Thursday.

In the Tigers’ sweep of Bowler to open the postseason, strong serving was a big factor for visiting Gillett.

Gillett finished the night with 21 aces, including eight by Schaal during a 16-0 Tigers’ run to finish off the match.

“I knew I had to just stay calm and just keep pushing it on,” Schaal said of her serving streak. “I was just trying to get my serves over and in because they had struggled with our serves.”

Schaal finished the match with 11 aces to go along with seven digs and six attack kills.

Emelie Horsens also tallied six attack kills, while Aubrey DeBauch had five. Sophie Horsens assisted on eight kills; Umentum had four. Umentum also served six aces and had four digs.

Sophie Horsens chipped in with five digs, while DeBauch had four.

“We lost to Bowler at the beginning of the season. We were flat that night and didn’t serve really well,” Hicks said. “I wasn’t sure how things were going to go tonight — we went to a funeral before the match. We made sure we got here in time to decompress and do some team-building things, and they came out ready ready to play.”

The Tigers will return plenty of its core players from this year’s roster but does graduate the trio of Jaylan Lauersdorf, Jerika Heroux and Crystal Zempel.