By the time the third set rolled around, Chloe Holland was on a roll of her own.
After "winning" the coin toss — it was tails, by the way — to set Veritas Christian up on the side of the court in which it had won earlier, the senior left side hitter carried that momentum into the decisive frame.
Holland tallied Veritas' first six kills in the third set, sparking a run that ultimately led to a 2-1 victory (25-18, 24-26, 25-15) over Bishop Seabury at East Lawrence Recreation Center on Tuesday.
“I feel like she really calmed down and let the game come to her,” Veritas coach Kyle Billings said. "She’s a great player. All she has to do is let her instincts take over.”
Sure enough, those instincts showed in the finale of the triangular. And not a moment too soon.
The first set between the two teams was hotly contested as Seabury led for nearly the entirety of the early action. Seahawks senior Maia Tilly was especially impressive early on, tallying six kills as her side took a 16-13 lead.
Then came the run.
Holland started things off with a kill, and the momentum almost instantly flipped. Veritas went on a 10-1 run, a stretch which included a pair of aces by Emma Boulton, who had her fair share of moments throughout the day.
“Our setters are amazing, especially together,” Holland said of Boulton and Emma Wilson, who combined for 34 assists and 18 digs in Veritas' two matches. “They’re double trouble, both have the same name. They’re amazing. They really find their hitters."
After holding on to win the first set, Veritas appeared to be in line for a potential sweep, taking a 23-20 lead in the second. But Seabury rallied on the back of Lindsey Hornberger (seven kills vs. Veritas), who tallied a kill and an ace during the final stretch to stave off the loss and tie things up.
“She’s a really big key player for us,” said Seabury coach Brian Rios. “But our main focus was just to play some crazy defense.”
That they did. And it wasn’t just limited to that match.
Seabury (4-10) started the day with a decisive win over Kansas City East. With Tilly, Britain Hamm and Sophia Ostlund leading the way, the Seahawks got out to a 15-1 lead in the first set and ultimately swept the match, 25-7, 25-15.
Veritas (20-5) was also victorious in its match against KC East to open the triangular. After trailing early in the first set, Wilson and left side hitter Jessie Swisher helped spark a 5-0 run to take control of the set. Veritas would never trail again, winning the match in two sets, 25-11, 25-12.
“Jessie Swisher really had an amazing game offensively today,” Billings said. “She really broke out of her shell and I was so proud of her.”
But heading into the final set of the final match, things were very much up in the air.
With both Veritas and Seabury hoping to finish the triangular undefeated, the teams attempted to strike the balance between the frenetic energy that flowed in the second set and the composure each had relied upon to come away with key points down the stretch.
“You can never let down on a city rival," Holland said.
"One big word we use this season is adventure," Rios added. "We're going to try to make this an adventure at all costs. ... We're going to have fun doing anything that we do this season with volleyball."
Ultimately it was Veritas who emerged victorious.
Paced by Holland (team-high 20 kills on Tuesday), Swisher (team-high 15 digs) and a pair of aces from Leandra Fischer, the Eagles were able to take the third set and finish the day undefeated.
“It takes a little while. It takes a few points to kind of calm down a little bit," Billings said. "By the third set we were ready. We were calm. We knew we had that game. It was just a matter of playing our game and not getting rattled."