Tigers Maul Spartans

Berthoud's Sophie Kathol gets a dig during the game against Holy Family at Berthoud High School on Oct. 4. Paula Megenhardt / The Surveyor

Berthoud’s Sophie Kathol gets a dig during the game against Holy Family at Berthoud High School on Oct. 4.
Paula Megenhardt / The Surveyor

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Tuesday evening was a night to forget, in more ways than one, for the Berthoud High School (BHS) volleyball team. Playing host to a Holy Family squad with whom Berthoud (and Mead) shared a three-way tie for first place in the Tri-Valley Conference (TVC), the Lady Spartans found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-19) sweep.

To add injury to insult – literally – for Berthoud was the apparent ankle injury suffered by superstar senior Jessa Megenhardt. The Lady Spartans’ setter, who leads her team in aces and assists and ranks second in digs, collided at the net with a member Holy Family front line at the end of the first set. After attempting to battle through what Berthoud has to hope is only a minor injury, Megenhardt spent the rest of the game on the bench. The missed action represented the first time in her four years on the Berthoud varsity roster than Megenhardt has missed a rotation.

“Obviously losing Jess, she’s an awesome leader on that court, and when that happens you’re missing some leadership,” Berthoud Head Coach Daisha Agho said after the match. “We knew it was going to be a great match but losing that setter and that leadership capability on the court put a damper on it.”

Even before Megenhardt had to leave the court, the Lady Spartans appeared to be over-matched against a team they had bested 3-1 exactly one month ago. Holy Family was aggressive from the onset of the match, employing a block and attack Berthoud proved unable to counter. The Lady Tigers held a lead throughout the first set, always forcing Berthoud to play catch-up and were never not in control of the match.

Megenhardt was replaced at setter by freshman Cas Berry who did yeoman’s work running Berthoud’s court against an elite opponent in less-than-ideal circumstances. “At first I was very, very nervous because it’s kind of a tense situation,” Berry explained. “But once I got on to the court and my team supported me we got the energy and we started rolling.” Berry has experience in the setter role from her club team, saying it was almost “second nature” to take over the role of court general.

Agho praised Berry, saying the freshman, “stepped in and did a phenomenal job for us … the girls responded very well for us and we were able to run somewhat of an offense.” Berry finished with 22 assists and nine digs for Berthoud on the evening.

After some initial adjustment, Berthoud put together a few rallies to claw their way to a 14-12 lead in the second set, getting a key kill from Julie Ward and scoring on a couple Holy Family errors. Yet the Lady Tigers rallied after emerging from a timeout, scoring four-straight to take a 16-14 lead from which they would never look back.

“We played tough, we wanted to keep that intensity … and maybe we did, maybe we didn’t but some stuff happened in the game,” senior Shay Pierick explained. “When [Megenhardt] left, we played a lot better than I thought we would and that’s really good for our team to be able to stay up with them when we have one of our best players down, I’m really proud of that.”

Berthoud battled hard in the third and final set, holding leads of 3-1 and 7-4 before a five-point Holy Family rally gave the visitors a lead they would not relinquish. Ultimately Holy Family relied on the stream of energy with which they began the game and prevented Berthoud from stringing together a rally to retake the lead.

“They were upset we beat them on their court, coming in they obviously had a chip on their shoulder, we knew this was going to be tough playing this game,” Agho said. “Obviously not the result [we want] but we were competitive and if that situation has to arise again I think we will be ready for it … but things happen, it’s part of the game, I was very proud of them for reacting the way they did.”

Berthoud (9-4, 6-2 conf.) will host Erie (11-5, 3-5 conf.) for their next match on Oct. 6. Berthoud bested Erie 3-1 in the teams’ first match on Sept. 8.