This was easily the closest of the three matches with Casey, as Boyle was pushed to three games for only the sixth time in 30 matches this season — all wins.
"We expected it, but not to that extent," senior Kylee Talbott said. "They really put it to us, so we had to step up. It took some work, but we did it."
Casey led 16-11 in the third game before Boyle tied the game with a 6-1 run. After one more Casey point, Boyle scored six straight behind serves by Molly Preston to take command.
"We started playing our ball," Boyle coach Cate Guthrie said.
Preston, the team's libero, said defense made the difference.
"I think we had a lot stronger defense that game, and we got more of our serves in, which helped a lot," she said.
Boyle swept two close games to win the teams' last meeting Sept. 17.
"I think we underestimated Casey, and they brought it all tonight," Preston said.
Casey coach Rachel Taylor said she tried to convince her players they could play with Boyle.
"I really tried to stress to the girls that ... if we played them from whistle to whistle we could give them a run for their money," Taylor said. "Boyle's just a really scrappy team. They seem to be able to get a hand on anything and get it over the net."
Getting serves over is important
Taylor said Casey did as well at holding serve for several points at a time as it has all season — it had five runs of four points or more — but she said her team still had more service errors than Boyle.
"Getting serves over is just as important in volleyball as hitting free throws in basketball. You're not going to win many games if you can't be consistently good at serving," she said.
Boyle rallied from a 20-17 deficit in the first game to go up 24-21 before giving up four straight points, then scoring three straight points to win the game.
Casey led the second game 24-21, but Boyle rallied to tie the game thanks to a Casey error, a block by sophomore Emily Hall — a seldom-used sub who replaced injured Kaley Jackson moments earlier — and a winning shot from the back row by Talbott. Casey came back with two straight points, including a kill by Ashley McQueary, to even the match.
Talbott led Boyle with seven kills and five blocks, and she also had an impressive total of 15 digs. Catie Meyer had eight digs and six kills, Kelsey Coffey had seven digs, Kendrick had six digs and two aces and Hannah Staub had two aces and 28 assists.
McQueary had eight kills and Haley Murphy had four for Casey, and Lindsey Martin had two aces.
Boyle will host the 12th Region Tournament next week.
"It's going to be tough, but we're definitely excited for it. We just really hope to come out and show our best," Talbott said.
Guthrie said she can sense that excitement, but she said Tuesday's close shave should sharpen her team's focus.
"We do have some preparation to do. It was very humbling tonight to have such a tight match," she said. "Playing at home is going to be really exciting (but) we still have to stay focused on fundamentals and being mentally sound."
Meanwhile, Taylor said that even though the result was disappointing for Casey, which also advances to the regional, it was also encouraging.
"We've been waiting so long for a game where we played really well against a really good team, and I think we did that tonight, finally," she said.
The all-tournament team:
Samantha Anderson, Lincoln County; Megan Kendrick, Boyle County; Lindsey Martin, Casey County; Ashley McQueary, Casey County; Hannah Staub, Boyle County; Kylee Talbott, Boyle County.