Volleyball falls to 4A Marion

By Norv and Mary Coblentz · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The West Liberty Comets won four and lost one match at the Mid-Prairie tournament in Wellman Sept. 22. The Comets defeated Williamsburg, Benton, Mid-Prairie, and Regina, and lost to 4A Marion.

West Liberty faced the Benton Community Bobcats in their first match and won in two sets, 21-14, 21-9. The Bobcats kept it close early, but after a 8-8 tie, West Liberty pulled away. The wet point came on a net serve by the Bobcats. In the second set, Benton Community got a kill for the first point. Sydney Warson tied it at one, Each team committed an error for a 2-2 tie, then West Liberty took the lead on a Warson kill. Another kill, this one by Kennedi Simon, made it 4-2. The Bobcats ended a long volley with a kill, then hit the ball in the net. K. Simon served, stretching the Comets’ lead to 8-4 on a kill by Kristi Feldman and two aces. A Bobcat error gave Grace Jedlicka the serve for West Liberty, and the Comets scored the next five points on an ace, a kill by Feldman, and Benton Community errors.

The Comets continued to dominate, allowing the Bobcats just five more points in the match. The set and match point came on a kill by Feldman.

“The first match we definitely had control over that match once we warmed up,” West Liberty Head Coach Melissa Brockway said. “We kept running the things we wanted to work on and focusing on the goals we had for that match, and they met them.”

The Comets went three games against Williamsburg, winning 3-1 with scores of 21-17, 19-21, 15-12.

The first set was close, and the teams played to an 11-11 tie before a kill attempt went out of bounds for the Raiders to give the Comets the edge. K. Simon got a block, then hit the ball on the line for a 14-11 West Liberty lead. Williamsburg hit the ball out of bounds, then the Comets did the sam. Molly Kelly made a great diving dig to save the ball, allowing Warson to get a kill for a 17-12 tally. The teams traded points until an ace by the Raiders brought them to within two at 17-15. Williamsburg didn’t return the ball in three hits, then K. Simon got a kill. West Liberty was called for carrying, then Williamsburg had a net serve for a 20-16 score. Williamsburg got a kill, but a second-touch surprise tip by Cassedi Simon gave the Comets the set point, a 21-17 win.

A rotation snafu by the Comets helped the Raiders win the second set. The teams played to a 7-7 tie, but after a lengthy consultation, the officials ruled that the Comets had served out of order, and the new score was 8-4, Williamsburg.

The Raiders scored three more points, then a kill by K. Simon and a block by C. and K. Simon made it 11-6, Raiders. Williamsburg maintained their lead until late in the set when a dig by the Raiders hit a basketball hoop and rocketed to the floor. The score was tied at 18. Williamsburg scored another point, but the Comets’ Warson got a kill that rode the net before falling to the Raiders’ side for a 19-19 tie. The Comets hit the ball out of bound, then a kill try by the Comets went out, and the Raiders won 21-19.

In the third set, West Liberty led then entire way. K. Simon got the set and match point on a kill for the 15-12 and 2-1 win.

“They’re very fun to play (Williamsburg). They’re high energy, they swing hard. We had control in the first set. In the second set we were on our way to making a comeback. Ken (Simon) had run several serves before the score table realized that Ken was out of rotation. I told the girls I take total fall for that,” Brockway said. “We had to battle back from there, and I thought they did a phenomenal job of letting that go. They didn’t let the mishap phase them. They came out with a ton of motivation and a lot of intensity in the third set.”

The Comets beat Mid-Prairie in two sets.

“We gave a solid performance at our Mid-Prairie match,” Brockway said. “We had talked early in the day about maintaining a high level of play throughout every match was a good example of that. We made sure that our ball control was consistent and built our offense on top of that. The players stayed focused and moved the match along at a quick pace. Kathy Kaalberg was doing a great job of setting the block, and our backcourt defenders were exceptionally alert.”

The Comets dropped two sets to Marion.

“We were pumped to play Marion,” Brockway said. “We’d been looking forward to it all week knowing it would be a close matchup. It’s such an enjoyable challenge to take on the bigger schools.

“We started with a five-point lead early in the first set but weren’t able to hold on to it. We did a lot of things right. We served tough, we had some monster kills. Marissa Kelly and Sydney Wrson swung harder than I’ve ever seen them swing. Molly Kelly consistently served Marion out of system, and our defense adjusted well to Marion’s outsides.

“Ultimately, we let our opponent into the match by stringing together a series of hitting errors and not effectively controlling Alyssa Thomas, Marion’s middle hitter. It was a frustrating loss because that victory was definitely within reach. That being said, it’s also important for us to know how to lose and then bounce back and immediately win the next match, which we did.”

The Comets played Regina in the final match of the tournament.

“We finished the day playing Regina for the second time,” Brockway said. “The first time was during conference play. Regina came out swinging, and our ball control was a little sloppy in the first set. But we buckled down when we needed to and won. We never lost control during the second set and finished the day on a positive, hard-working note. Grace Jedlicka served a run in the second set that helped us pull away and finish the match.”

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