Concordia lost to Leo when the two teams last met in early September.
The Cadets also lost to the Lions in September 2019, and in the first round of the last year's sectional. In fact, Leo had won six straight against Concordia, with the Cadets' last victory coming in 2015.
And when an errant serve followed by a kill by Leo's Isabelle Hogan gave the Lions the first set of their first-round Class 3A Bishop Dwenger sectional match Tuesday night, it looked like that pattern might continue.
Not this time.
The Cadets led for much of the second set, came from behind in the third and controlled the fourth to win 25-27, 25-20, 25-21, 25-17. Their reward is a trip to the semifinals, where they will meet Angola at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Senior Bethany Gottschalk was “beyond excited” to advance and, of course, defeat Leo in dramatic fashion.
“We've been trying to beat Leo for so many years,” senior Taylor Hepburn said. “We had way more energy than we did (in September). We were able to focus. We brought way more positivity. Back then, we were pretty negative and thinking about ourselves. But we've learned how to come together as a team, and things worked out fine.”
The Lions (18-8) trailed during the middle of the first set, but mistakes by the Cadets (19-8) allowed the Lions to win three straight points and tie the set at 19 and then take a 20-19 lead. From there, the two teams matched each other point for point, tying at 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. Finally, the tie was broken when Concordia senior Karysa Knoblauch served into the net, and on the next point Hogan gently tipped the ball upward and over the net, where it floated about the outstretched hands of Cadets at the net and landed untouched.
“You've got to weather the storm sometimes and make some adjustments, figure out the flow of the game,” Concordia coach Trish Miller said. “I thought our kids reacted to what they were giving us and learned what was going on on that side of the net and how to defend it.
“Too many errors in the first set, we were a little flat. But didn't give up, and it helped us push into that second set.”
After falling behind in the first few points of the second set, kills by freshman Jersey Loyer tied the game at 6 and again at 7. A kill by junior Aniya Martin put the Cadets up 8-7, and Concordia would not trail again in the set.
Leo held the lead for much longer in the third set, and Concordia didn't tie it until the teams were knotted at 18. A kill by Loyer, who finished the night with 23, put Concordia up 24-21, and after a timeout the Cadets wrapped up the set when a Leo serve sailed out of bounds.
Concordia never trailed in the fourth and led by eight points at the end, despite never winning more than three straight points.
Knoblauch set up the offense with 54 assists. She also had nine kills and 11 digs. Williams finished with nine kills and two solo blocks. Junior LonDynn Betts led the team with three aces and 17 digs, and Martin had a team-high three solo blocks.