By Blake Faith
The Mt. Zion volleyball team lost its final game 2-0 against Lincoln in a regional semifinal on October 26.
In the first set, the Braves went back and forth with the Railers. The Braves took a 3-1 lead after a Macie Flemming kill and Alexis Smith kill. The Railers tied the set and then Hannah Sago responded with a kill to put the Braves up 4-3.
Later in the set, the Braves found themselves down 13-10. The Braves narrowed that lead behind a Sago Bloco and Smith kill to make the score 13-12. The Braves tied the core 17-17 after two Smith kills and a Bracie Barnes kill.
The Braves fell 25-20 in the first set. Sago scored the last point for the Braves in that set with a block.
In the second set, the Braves took a 2-1 lead after a Sago block. The Braves lost the lead and got the game within two after an Isabelle Holmes kill to 7-5.
Later in the second set, the Braves found themselves down 18-10. The Braves chipped at that lead scoring three straight points off a Sago block and Flemming kill. The Railers scored townstrfiht points to make the lead 20-13.
The Braves started a run which included a Sago block and a Holmes kill and block. Holmes scored the last point of the match for the Braves off a kill. The Braves lost the second set 25-19.
“We came up short in the fight,” Head coach Traci Dyer Townsend said. “We played hard but didn’t adapt to their big block. Losing our best attacker (Smith) in the second set did not help the morale either. They rattled our confidence and when we decided to fight back and level up it was too late.”
The Braves graduate three seniors in Sago, Smith and Peyton Cpurson. A chunk of their roster including Holmes, McKenna Crawford, Barnes and Denver Anderson will be back next season. Coach Townsend finished her first season 17-16. Coach Townsend described her first season as fun and that the team got better mechanically and in their volleyball IQ and said that the biggest roadblock was poor interpersonal skills.
“In the big scheme of it all I want to build leaders through the sport of volleyball,” Coach Townsend said. “ I want to build a culture and community of hard work, dedication and perseverance. I want my players to be proud to be a Brave volleyball player, support each other on and off the court and come out of the program as young women well equipped to take on any of life’s challenges. This season we made small strides toward these aspirations. We need to improve our interpersonal skills to better motivate each other to be our best selves on and off the court together. It will be a process, but I’m always up for a challenge. “