DOVER – The Western Boone volleyball team knew it was a tall task ahead of them on Saturday evening in the sectional final.
The eighth-ranked Stars were facing second-ranked Heritage Christian, the defending state champions.
And while the Stars battled until the end, slow starts in the first two sets ultimately doomed them in a 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-22) loss to the Eagles.
“I am proud of them, especially that third set,” Western Boone head coach Laura Bragg said. “The first two were not pretty and our girls could have gave up, and they didn’t. That just shows how much toughness this team has. We have had adversity this year, and had some tonight, but our girls kept on fighting and played one of our best sets of the year.”
Western Boone fell behind early in each of the first two sets.
In the first, they gave up the first five points and were down 11-2 right away. In the second, they were down 9-2 early and couldn’t claw their way back.
Bragg said the Stars had trouble getting the Eagles out of system.
“Our passing hurt us early,” Bragg said. “We were very out of system, which put them very in system. With their high caliber of hitting, you can’t give them any easy balls to set up their offense.”
The Stars led most of the way from the third.
Western Boone went up 10-7 early, and led by as many as four before Heritage Christian fought back to tie the set at 18.
A kill by Maddie Hawkins sparked a 3-0 spurt to put the Stars up 22-19, but the Eagles closed the set on a 6-0 run to win the set and the sectional title.
Kennedy Kiger led the team with seven kills in the match. Hawkins had six kills and 12 digs.
Audrey Dunn had six kills, and Elena Gubera had five kills and six digs.
Marli Ransom had 24 digs. Lindsey Coffman had 28 assists.
All the girls but Coffman will be back, and the Stars will also have back Kendal Ramey, who was injured halfway through the year.
“The future for the next couple of years is amazing,” Bragg said. “Our seniors did a great job with their leadership, and our girls coming back have to continue that this off-season and build on it next year. We aren’t losing any hitters, so our offense will be similar and we have to build on it.”
The Stars finished the season 20-8.
Bragg said she was proud of the way the team battled through adversity throughout the year to have a 20-win season.
“This was a fun group,” Bragg said. “This was one of our most fun teams with their attitude and work ethic. I know in the future that they are going to do great things.”
Article Courtesy of Will Willems