The gym was hot. The play was not.
Facing off in a sweltering Rackers Fieldhouse on Thursday night, the Helias Lady Crusaders and Hermann Lady Bearcats produced an error-filled volleyball match Helias eventually won by a 25-15, 25-17 score.
With close to half of the points in the match coming via errors, the loose play got contagious at times.
"It was little-bitty things," Helias coach David Harris said. "If we only have one or two of those, it's not too bad, but when you have several, and it comes from different people, that's bad."
Exactly half of the points in the first game came on errors, and they were split down the middle at 10 for each team. In fact, 10 of the first 14 points of the match came on errors.
But the Lady Crusaders were just a little bit better on the points that didn't end because of miscues. Tory Wiley had five kills and Erica Haslag had three, while Laura Schieber had two of Helias' three aces.
The Lady Crusaders cleaned things up in the second game, making just five errors to 13 for the Lady Bearcats. Still, the game was tied nine different times, the last coming at 16.
"We can play really well in stretches, but I'm not sure if we lose focus or what, but we were very undisciplined tonight as far as getting to our bases and reading what was going on and transitioning to our defensive spots," Harris said.
However, four Hermann errors were part of a 6-0 Helias run that put the game away.
Haslag had three kills and two blocks for the Lady Crusaders during that game.
For the match, Haslag had six kills and three blocks, while Wiley also had six kills. Blake Berhorst picked up eight digs and Brittney Engelbrecht had eight assists.
Harris said part of his team's problem may have been the fact it's had just one practice in the last eight days thanks to playing so many matches.
"And sometimes even though you have to travel, I'd rather play away games because when we've got home games, there's a lot more distractions," he said. "We've been talking about it being important to be mentally ready to play, even at home."
The Lady Crusaders were also hampered by the fact 6-foot-3 middle hitter Anna Murphy will miss at least the next two weeks because of an ankle injury.
"We've got to move players around and it's not that they can't do it, it's just a matter of adjusting," Harris said. "When your 6-3 middle is gone, it changes some dynamics. ... We're not using that as an excuse at all, but we're definitely a work in progress. Some other people are getting playing time and getting an opportunity."
The Lady Crusaders (10-2) will return to action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when they host Rolla.
Helias also won Thursday's JV match, taking it by a 25-15, 25-9 score.
Megan Brown had six kills and five digs for Helias (6-0), Andi Gladbach handed out six assists, Hannah Eynard racked up five kills and Liz Adam had eight service points.
In the freshman match, Helias posted a 25-17, 25-7 win.
Abby Shepard had 12 service points, including three aces, and 12 assists for the Lady Crusaders (6-0). Maddie Neuner had four aces, Haley Kempker had five kills and Laura Vanderfeltz and Morgan Fischer had five digs apiece.