OUCH!: Switzerland County’s Eve Galbreath smacks her forehead after making an error in the Pacers’ 3-1 sectional volleyball win over South Ripley Thursday in Hanover. “Every error tonight was a mental one but we were fortunate that those didn’t cost us in the end. We can’t afford to make those for the rest of this tournament,” Pacers coach Kodi Thayer said. (Courier staff photo by Mark Campbell)
OUCH!: Switzerland County’s Eve Galbreath smacks her forehead after making an error in the Pacers’ 3-1 sectional volleyball win over South Ripley Thursday in Hanover. “Every error tonight was a mental one but we were fortunate that those didn’t cost us in the end. We can’t afford to make those for the rest of this tournament,” Pacers coach Kodi Thayer said. (Courier staff photo by Mark Campbell)
In a mistake-filled match, Switzerland County made the least amount, surviving for a 3-1 victory over South Ripley in the Class 2A Volleyball Sectional 45 tournament opener at Southwestern.

The Pacers, who had split the two-match regular season series with their Ohio River Valley Conference foe, hurried out to a 2-0 lead, winning 25-16 and 25-20. South Ripley came back in game three 25-21 before the Pacers' closed out the match 25-22 in game four to advance to Saturday's semifinals.

"We played well at the start but we really dropped off at the end," Pacers head coach Kodi Thayer said. "Honestly though I'm kind of glad to see the match play out like it did. It showed our girls that anything can happen in tournament play and there is no such thing as a guaranteed win."

But during the first set it looked like a win for Switzerland wouldn't take too long. The Pacers jumped out to a 4-0 lead on four successful serves by Olivia Pavy and two vicious kills by Eve Galbreath before South Ripley got back into the game by scoring three-straight points.

That was as close as the Raiders (4-19) would get the rest of the set as Switzerland County's front row combo of Galbreath and Kelsi Konkle spiked the Pacers to an easy victory.

Allie Sexton served up an ace and Elizabeth Bodenberg put three perfect serves over the net to stake South Ripley to an early 6-4 lead in game two before the powerful right hand of Galbreath struck again, helping the Pacers regain the lead.

Switzerland County won the second set but its sloppy play towards the end of the game became a growing concern once the third set began.

The Pacers controlled early but fell flat in the middle of the set in large part to mental errors and a lack of communication. Spikes and volleys that were once landing found the net instead and the Raiders, who had made their fair share of mistakes in the first two games, suddenly found a rhythm. Freshman Laken Farrell dealt three kills late, keeping Ripley alive in the match 2-1.

"The mistakes we made were because of lack of execution," Thayer said. "Every error tonight was a mental one but we were fortunate that those didn't cost us in the end. We can't afford to make those for the rest of this tournament."

The struggles continued for Switzerland early on in game four as the two teams went back and forth. South Ripley got big hits from Hayley Schwarte and Sidney Steinhauer and the match was tied near the midway point, 11-11. But the spiking game that was in a lull for the Pacers suddenly perked up as Switzerland County once again went on the attack.

Konkle came up with two kills and Galbreath, who had been virtually non-existent since game two, came back to life with three kills. Her third smackdown gave the Pacers the lead for good en route to a 3-1 win.

Galbreath finished the night with 18 kills while Konkle recorded seven. Brooke Todd and Pavy each had three and Carleigh Hughes served one ace.

"Eve (Galbreath) played strong tonight," Thayer said. "When she fell into a lull is when you started to see us drop off a little bit in our play. Keeping her involved and our other hitters involved is a big key for us."

Switzerland County (11-15) faces tourney host Southwestern (18-14) in the sectional's first semifinal at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The Pacers lost the regular season match to the Rebels earlier this year and Thayer knows the second time around will be just as tough.

"We have to serve well and hit well, but more importantly we can't make mistakes against Southwestern," Thayer said. "In our first match with them we had a lot of tips so I think we have to focus on that. If we can do those things well and attack we'll be fine."