SULLIVAN â€" The unfortunate thing about seeing two evenly-match squads playing hard to go to a sectional final is one of them has to come up short.
On Saturday, the Greencastle volleyball team was the unfortunate squad. The Tiger Cubs dropped a five-game match to West Vigo, 25-22, 9-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-9.
GHS coach Trish Lowe did not really attribute her teamâ€™s loss to one factor, just to the opposition making a few plays when they had to.
â€śI think we played well. Iâ€™m proud of the effort our kids gave us,â€ť Lowe said. â€śIâ€™m not sure there was a difference. I think they (West Vigo) got some balls that, typically, with some teams just would have fallen.
â€śBoth teams hustled,â€ť she continued. â€śWe did our job, and unfortunately they were the better team today.â€ť
As the match opened, it did not look like it would be such a great match for the Cubs. The team fell behind early and saw the Vikings build a 17-7 lead. The West Vigo carried the lead to 23-14 and it appeared they would run away in game one.
Then the Tiger Cubs seemed to wake up.
After a sideout, Kristen Flint ran off five straight service points to pull within three at 23-20. The Cubs drew closer at 24-22 on a serve from Kelsey Hennette.
The rally fell short, however, and the Vikings took game 1, 25-22.
Lowe liked what the team showed in making the comeback, and it looked to be an indicator of good things to come.
â€śI think we did a great job of just staying at it,â€ť she said. â€śA little bit at a time, we were hacking at it, hacking at it.â€ť
The Cubs roared to an 8-0 lead on Hennetteâ€™s serves in game two. From there, they would not need a lot more. After a few more small spurts, Hennette came to serve again and closed out the game at 25-9. The last three points were on Hennette aces.
Game three was a different animal entirely, with neither team able to protect its own serve. It featured only 18 service points compared to 29 sideouts.
However, it was also highly competitive, with the score tied 10 times. The last of these came at 22, before the Tiger Cubs reeled of three in a row to win 25-22.
Game four saw some longer runs, but the same competitive environment. The Vikings ultimately emerged with a 25-23 victory.
Having staved off elimination once, West Vigo would not be denied in the fifth. They jumped out to an 8-3 lead, and then built it to 13-7.
The Cubs had a couple more points in them, but the Vikings went on to the victory, with the 15th point coming on a Jessica Coombs block.
â€śMomentum is a huge factor in volleyball and unfortunately they had it more than we did,â€ť Lowe said. â€śIn the fifth game, they got the momentum and we never could get it swung back to our side.â€ť
The coach could not find enough good things to say about her 2007 team. It was a team that began the season with very little experience, but built to a nice 18-14 record by seasonâ€™s end.
â€śThis was such a good group of people. Theyâ€™re quality people, not just athletes,â€ť Lowe said.
She said the four seniors â€" Olivia Miller, Sarah Land, Kristen Flint and Kelsey Hennette â€" have been a special group to her.
â€śThe seniors are great leaders, physically and emotionally,â€ť Lowe said. â€śTheyâ€™re going to be missed, not only by the kids but by me. Weâ€™ve kind of grown up together and they canâ€™t be replaced.â€ť
Looking ahead, though, time will march on, as it always does. Lowe looks forward to next season with those who return.
â€śWe have a good group of kids behind the seniors who will come in and do their job. Weâ€™ll still have volleyball at GHS,â€ť Lowe said. â€śItâ€™s always a different group and a little different mix but this is just a great group of seniors.â€ť
IHSAA Volleyball Sectional 29 Semifinal
West Vigo 25 9 22 25 15
Greencastle 22 25 25 23 9
Kills â€" O. Miller 23, Flint 4, Nobles 2, Samuels 1, Lewis 1, Hennette 1
Assists â€" Hennette 20, Land 2
Points â€" Hennette 17 (4 aces), Flint 13, Sawyer 6 (2 aces), Nobles 4, O. Miller 4, Lewis 3
The Tiger Cubs conclude their season with an 18-14 mark.