Monrovia — For most of Tuesday night’s sectional quarterfinal against Class 2A No. 1 Covenant Christian, the fifth-ranked Lady Stars of Western Boone hung right there with the Warriors, trading rallies and points back-and-forth.
But, when things got tight late in games, Covenant Christian showed why they were 29-1 in the regular season and the defending state runners-up. In the end, it resulted in a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-21) loss for the Stars, ending their season 21-13.
“Their accuracy with a block, or a hit, or a set was just a little more on point than us,” Western Boone head coach Laura Lawson said. “We kept with them a lot of points, and we had just as many good kills as them, but in the times that mattered, they proved why they are No. 1.”
Western Boone showed right away they weren’t going to make things easy on the Warriors. When Covenant Christian went up 11-6 in game one, but Western Boone went on a 10-2 run to take a 16-13 lead on a block by Talyn Guinn.
But Covenant Christian scored the next six points to take a 19-16 lead, and although Western Boone got back within one twice at 19-18 and 20-19, Covenant Christian was able to put the game away.
“I think they were just a little more focused on where they wanted to hit at us,” Lawson said of the difference late. “They succeeded at that and we just couldn’t respond to their run.”
The Stars responded well at the start of game two, trading points to find themselves down 9-8 after a sideout. But another big run hurt the Stars. This time the Warriors would got on a 10-2 run, taking a 19-10 lead and never let Western Boone back into the game.
The Warriors then went up 11-6 in the third game, and looked to be on their way to the sweep. But the Stars weren’t going to go down easily.
They came back to tie the game at 15, and then again at 16 on a block by Brooke Cummins. The game was tied at 17 and 18 as well, and Western Boone took its first lead of the game at 21-20 after a Nicley block.
But just like in game one, the Warriors had an answer. After a hitting error by Western Boone tied the score at 21, Covenant Christian got a block and three-straight kills to end the match.
“I am really proud of the girls,” Lawson said. “Game two didn’t go our way, but we came out and worked really hard in game three. I am so glad that I saw that fight in them and that they didn’t give up.”
Nicley had 13 kills to lead the team.
Guinn had four kills and five blocks, while Emma Rolf had six kills. Cummins had 19 assists.
All four girls were part of a six-girl senior class that will be missed, Lawson said.
“This was a group of seniors that when I started were fifth or sixth graders,” Lawson said. “I have really seen their journey through our system and then excel this year. These six seniors will always have a place in my heart.”
There is another core group that were making their sectional debuts today and will be back next year.
Lawson said they have to take the lessons from this year’s senior class, and Tuesday’s loss as they head into the off-season.
“They got a good taste of the atmosphere and how it is totally different in the sectional,” Lawson said. “There is a lot of pressure and every point matters. Hopefully they can use this and be more prepared for next year.”
Covenant Christian advances to play Monrovia on Saturday morning.