The Cougars maintained the edge until the Bees ran off five straight points with Meridyth Bates serving to go ahead 12-9. Once again, CCC battled back. It outscored St. Ambrose 9-1 to take the lead for good. Paige Sanquist assisted on a Wattley kill in the middle that gave the Cougars a 15-14 lead, then she scored the next point on a setter dump.
“Our intensity was really high, and all those kills really help,” Sanquist said. “The intensity helps.”
Matzen said: “We give that little bit extra effort and get the lead. That’s the team I’d like to see the whole time. We have the talent, we just need the mental part to get there.”
St. Ambrose got the early momentum in the fourth set when Cassie Rio capped a four-point run with an ace that put the Bees up 7-2. Later, she added two more aces in a seven-point run after CCC pulled within 13-11.
The Cougars refused to let the Queen Bees win with ease, though. They responded with a 4-1 run, then scored five in a row to get within 22-21. They capped the run with a double block by Joce Sikkema and Williams.
St. Ambrose scored the next two, with a tip by Rio putting the Bees within a point of winning. Once again, CCC battled back. The Cougars scored three in a row, including a service point by Nysha Lindo and a kill by Sikkema, a sophomore from Fulton, that tied it 24. SAU finally finished it off, though, taking advantage of two CCC errors for the 26-24 win.
“Just a few things didn’t go our way, but I liked the way we made the comeback,” Matzen said. “In a couple of weeks, we’ll win that game.”
She wasn’t quite so pleased with what she saw earlier in the match, even though the Cougars stayed close with the Bees in each of the first two games.