MAIZE — When it came to offense, it was McKenzie Hartzog or Lindsey Jones. The two combined for 14 of Maize's final 18 points in the final game at the Maize Volleyball Invitational.
That performance led Maize past Lawrence 28-26, 25-22 in the championship match Saturday.
"It came from the heart, from deep inside," Hartzog said of the offensive attack. "We really wanted it."
It was never easy for the Eagles, especially against a hitter like Lawrence's Lillian Schonewise. Schonewise had 11 kills in the championship match and controlled the middle of the court, but she couldn't overcome the Hartzog/Jones tandem.
In the first game, Lawrence built the largest lead at 5-1, but Maize answered with its own 5-1 run and took the lead at 9-8. The teams alternated points until Natalie Henning ended a 4-0 run that gave Maize game point. Two unforced errors gave Lawrence the lead right back at 25-24.
Then came Hartzog right on cue with back-to-back kills to give Maize the victory.
"We just wanted to keep pushing points, not play catch-up, and play as a team," Hartzog said. "This championship means that we played as a team and it means a lot."
Hartzog got Maize an early lead in the second game with four aces. Lawrence's Mary Coldsnow answered right back, holding serve for eight consecutive points and a 10-5 lead.
"The only thing that happened was we quit talking and that small time of lack of communication put us in a hole. But I'm lucky we got a bunch of fighters," Maize coach Betsy Martling said.
Maize didn't panic and fought back with tough defense on Schonewise. The Eagles held her to one kill for the rest of the match after the 8-0 run.
It was the same as the first match after that with Maize and Lawrence going point for point until Lawrence led 22-21. Hartzog got the serve back to Jones with a kill and the Eagles took advantage of two more unforced errors by Lawrence at the end for the win.
"My team has so much heart and they showed so much character, they never quit," Martling said. "We don't just love to win, we hate to lose and they really showed that."
Maize tied with Northwest in its bracket with 3-1 records in pool play to advance to play Newton, the only team to win all four games in pool play, in the semifinals.
In the semifinals, Maize defeated Newton 28-26, 21-25, 25-15 while Lawrence defeated Northwest 19-25, 25-15, 25-22.