HOPE — For three sets Thursday night, Hauser and Class A No. 3 Trinity Lutheran were about as even as possible.
The fourth set, however, was all Cougars.
Trinity scored the first 13 points and the last nine points of the fourth set to finish off a 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-5 road victory.
“I think we just came out with more energy than we had the first three sets, and we were able to put up some good runs,” Trinity senior Kiley Zabel said. “The blocks were doing good, too. I think we were just playing smarter in general. That was definitely a lot more like we usually play.”
Zabel served the first 13 points for the Cougars (12-9) in that fourth set. Setter Addie Darlage served the final nine.
“We served aggressively (in the fourth set),” Trinity coach Janet VanLiew said. “That helped, and then we just started I thought playing our positions and putting our block up like we’re very capable of.”
The Jets (14-9) led 22-21 in the first set before the Cougars pulled it out. The second set was tied 23-23 before Hauser got a side out, and Mikayla Miller served the winning point.
In the third set, the Jets led 6-5 and were within 11-9 when Trinity scored five in a row, the last four with Zabel at the service line. Hauser got back to within 24-22 before the Cougars scored to take a two-sets-to-one lead.
That set the stage for the fourth-set runaway.
“We just were not doing what we were trained to do (the first three sets),” VanLiew said. “That’s not taking anything away from Hauser, but we have to do what we need to do with our strengths and trying to neutralize the other team. I was happy with the way we came back. It was a little more the level that we have to play at if we want to get where we want to go.”
Madison Keith pounded 15 kills, Darlage recorded 33 assists, Carson Bowling had one solo and four assist blocks, Laura Roeder notched 19 digs and Zabel served six aces to lead Trinity.
Bowling tallied 12 kills and 13 digs, Ava Blomenberg added six kills and one solo and two assist blocks, Keith collected 11 digs and Darlage served four aces.
Aniston Bostic recorded 12 kills and three blocks, and Kayden Miller had 21 assists and one ace to lead the Jets. Kenze Bostic and Paige McDaniel each had three kills, Mattie Foster notched 13 digs and Haylin Campbell served one ace. Also for Hauser, Kenze Bostic tallied 10 kills and 10 digs, McDaniel pounded seven kills, Aniston Bostic had two assists and nine digs and Foster added one assist.
“Our first set was really good, but once we hit 20, we had four unforced errors, so I wasn’t happy about that,” Hauser coach Jeff Case said. “We kind of let up there at the end of that one. The second set was a good set. We missed six serves in the third set, so we were lucky to be in it. I can’t even explain what happened in that fourth set. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity and just didn’t show a whole lot of heart and character.”
Thursday’s game was a “Coaches vs. Cancer” contest, and Hauser collected money for childhood cancer research in memory of Sarah Taylor, a former Hauser student who died of osteosarcoma three years ago this month.