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Samuel Hoffman |The Journal Gazette
Alyssa Gross of Leo watches the ball on the net after her shot was blocked by Erica Shively of Concordia during Thursday’s sectional match.

Crazy bounce helps Concordia advance

Maybe this is when you know it’s your night when you’re Olivia Hahn and her Concordia Cadets.

It’s when you shoot a volleyball up toward the ceiling, have it clang the underside of the basketball rim cranked as high as hydraulics can offer, drop straight down like a stone, and then, on the necessary third and final hit, you turn your back to the net, give a two-fisted whack over the head, and have the ball drop untouched on the Leo side of the net for the go-ahead point early in the fifth and deciding game of Thursday night’s Class 3A Concordia sectional.

No wonder the Concordia fans jumped and stomped and screamed after the fourth set, “I believe that we will win!”

And sure enough, Concordia did, overcoming a horrendous third set to win the fourth and then the fifth for a 3-2 victory over the devastated Lions.

Both teams were down. Both teams were out. Momentum couldn’t decide which team to go home with and swayed back and forth like a metronome stick.

Concordia won the first set 25-18.

Leo won the next two 25-23 and 25-14 – the third set a mismatch only because Concordia had numerous unforced errors and Leo’s Brittney Miller went on a mini-rampage, getting four of her 12 kills in the final seven Leo points of the set.

But back came Concordia. Trailing 16-14, the Cadets caught fire behind Hahn’s four kills to win 11 of the next 14 points to take the fourth set 25-19. And that set off the flurry from the Concordia side of the Concordia gym.

“Concordia has great fans,” Leo coach Ashlee Robbins said. “They always do. And when you come in their house, it’s hard to match. You saw their fans right after Game 4. Some of their guys stood up and said, ‘We believe that we will win.’ I think with their fans screaming that, they truly, truly believed it.”

Who could argue after Hahn’s off-the-basket, over-the-head, nothing-but-hardwood winner that sent the Cadets ahead 2-1 in the 15-11 fifth set?

Sophomore Tionna Williams had 16 kills for Concordia, which faces Bishop Dwenger in Saturday’s 11 a.m. semifinals.

Freshman Erica Shively added 13 kills.

“Whenever we’re not playing well, we’ve got to remind ourselves that we are such a good team, and this is our house, and we’re not going to lose sectionals because we know we can make it all the way,” Hahn said.