Bishop Dwenger volleyball coach Tim Houser said he thought his team was making a few too many errors in the first two sets against visiting Bishop Luers on Tuesday.
But the Saints (10-2) practically eliminated those errors down the stretch, winning 10 of the final 11 points of the match to claim a 25-12, 25-12, 25-8 victory.
"That was a big run by Taya Dazey," said Houser, crediting the senior who served for nine straight points. "At the end there, when you don't make errors, you can get on a run like that. And that puts pressure on the other team."
Dazey had also been serving for five straight points as Bishop Dwenger built a 5-1 to kick off the first set. Later in the set, the Saints won five straight points, including back-to-back aces by Emma Lyons.
"It's great to see everything that we put in at practice come out in the games," senior middle hitter Delaney Hogan said. "So putting in focus and mental toughness, working really hard in practice and that resulting in a win."
Hogan led the Saints with 12 kills and setter Kaley Lyons had 36 assists. Senior libero Lauren Haraburda had 12 digs, and outside hitter Eva Hudson led the team with three blocks.
But Hogan said she always relishes the chance to rack up another statistic.
"When I'm back there and I get a dig as a middle, that's always fun, because it's just out of the ordinary," Hogan said.
Middle hitter Taylor Bransfield led Bishop Luers (7-9) with six kills, opposite hitter Hannah Sweeney had two aces and setter Jelena Girod had 16 assists.
It was the fifth straight victory for the Saints, who have had to replace eight seniors from the 2018 squad that went 31-3.
"We're a little younger this year," Houser said. "Talent-wise, I think we have all the talent in the world. But a lot of new players playing a lot of new roles. But they're in our program, and we train all three teams the same way every time. We have that when they make the step to this level, it's a little bit different pace of play, but it's the same system."
And the Saints are already working to develop the young talent that will eventually replace this crop of varsity players. The Battle of the Bishops was played in front of a large crowd of elementary and middle school-aged volleyball players from the city's Catholic grade schools, and after the match the Saints signed posters for the young fans.
"It's super humbling to me, because I was in their shoes once," Dazey said. "I came to watch them, wanting to be them and play on varsity. It's super awesome for us to see that they look up to us and that they'll take after us. In the end, they're going to be the people coming into this program when we leave, so it's super fun that we get to do that."