VARNA - Finally.
Finally, the St. Bede volleyball team had its entire team on the court at the same time Thursday night against Midland.
Finally, the Lady Bruins managed to put forth a dominant performance in the second game of a match against a Tri-County Conference opponent.
Finally, St. Bede head coach Dawn Williams can breathe a sigh of relief, smile and enjoy a complete performance by her team.
Williams got exactly that against the Lady Timberwolves as St. Bede returned Hailee Brayton from sickness two days after Kelsey Moravec came back from an injured ankle as the Lady Bruins rolled to a 25-7, 25-11 victory over Midland in Varna.
"It was really nice because once everyone's together, we're all a team again," said St. Bede sophomore middle hitter Kayla MacDavitt, who finished with a match-high 11 kills. "We're just all working together."
St. Bede (11-8-2, 5-1 in TCC) jumped out to an 8-2 lead, mostly because of the serve from both teams.
Midland (4-7-3, 2-4) made two early service errors, and MacDavitt served up three consecutive aces to highlight a five-point run.
St. Bede out-aced Midland 10-1 in the match.
"That's pretty huge," Williams said of the ace total. "This lineup, all my best servers are serving. It made a big difference."
The Lady Timberwolves maintained the six-point deficit at 11-5, but shortly thereafter, the Lady Bruins basically iced the first game.
St. Bede received two kills each from MacDavitt and Brayton and one kill from Bethany Stavrakas to go along with two aces by Molly Scott and one by Moravec to go on a 14-2 run to end game one.
MacDavitt also totaled a team-high four aces, while Scott and Taylor Miller each served two aces.
"We played a rotation that we've never practiced tonight because we've finally got everybody for the first time," Williams said. "Setters set right in and set as if they've been setting to this combination all year long. It is so sweet to see."
The second game was just as gloomy as the first for the host Timberwolves.
This time, the Lady Bruins broke out to a 6-1 lead as Miller opened the game with an ace before MacDavitt put down three kills to go along with one by Stavrakas.
The closest Midland could get to St. Bede the rest of the way was three points at 6-3 and 9-6 as, for only the second time in Tri-County play, the Lady Bruins cruised to a game-two victory.
Only once in five previous TCC matches had St. Bede won in straights until Thursday. The previous time came against Henry on Sept. 24.
"It's been a problem all season," Williams said. "That's what we've been talking about all season, trying to solve that three-game problem. We knew what it was, but we knew we couldn't cover for it. We tried all different things to take care of it and this took care of it."
Brayton put down two kills with one block down the second-game stretch, and in the match's final 10 points, MacDavitt pounded four kills with one block to seal the deal.
"It's really nice because then you get to go home early," MacDavitt said of the quick two games. "I think we were all just in a good mood (Thursday) night. We were just working together and working hard."
Midland was led by two kills, two assists and two points from Morgan Benz and three kills by Haley Hrovat.
Midland head coach Matt Butcher didn't like what he saw two nights after playing two close games against first-place Ottawa Marquette.
"We were just flat," Butcher said. "Flat. That's all I can say without being negative."
Scott, MacDavitt and Miller each served eight points in the win, and Stavrakas, Moravec, Anna O'Sadnick and Brayton each put down three kills.
Notes: The schedule for the Tri-County Conference Tournament is out. St. Bede received the No. 3 seed and plays Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. against No. 6 seeded Henry at Streator Woodland, the host school. No. 1 seed Ottawa Marquette has a bye and will play the winner of No. 8 Midland and No, 9 Lowpoint-Washburn. Putnam County, the No. 7 seed, and DePue, the No. 10 seed, face off to decide who will play No. 2-seeded Peoria Christian â€¦ The St. Bede sophomores picked up a win in the preliminary match in three games 19-25, 25-19, 25-20.
Jim Cogdal can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 139, or at email@example.com.