Comets fall short to West Branch

By Norv and Mary Coblentz · Wednesday, October 10, 2012
It was a battle of ranked teams with the Comets of West Liberty ranked fifth in 3A and the Bears of West Branch ranked third in 2A. The West Liberty volleyball team came out strong against West Branch Monday in the final conference match, but they fell short, losing 3-1 in their only conference loss of the season. Scores were 25-21, 12-25, 14-25, and 24-16. With their win, West Branch clinched the Cedar Valley Conference title, and West Liberty finished second in the CVC.

It was a tournament-like atmosphere in the West Branch gym with fans from both sides raucous in their support.

In the first set, the score was tied eight times early on before the Comets pulled away. A block by Cassedi and Kennedi Simon gave the Comets an 11-10 edge. West Branch then West Liberty had an error, then another West Branch error made it 13-11, Comets. The Bears got a kill, then Kathy Kaalberg got a kill for the Comets. A K. Simon kill made it 15-12, West Liberty. A Bears kill was followed by a ball that went out of bounds off West Branch. K. Simon served an ace, then West Branch scored a point. A kill by Kristi Feldman gave the Comets a four-point lead at 18-14. A kill by West Branch then a kill by Marissa Kelly made it 19-15. The teams traded a couple of points, then C. Simon got a block for a 21-16 lead. The Comets had a net violation. A kill by K. Simon was followed by two West Branch kills, bringing the Bears to within three at 22-19. Sydney Warson got a kill, then a Bear kill made it 23-20, Comets. Marissa Kelly got a kill, and the West Liberty fans started chanting “Uno mas!” A serving error delayed the Comets win, but Feldman got a kill for the 25-21 win.

The second set was ugly for the Comets, and the Bears had a 9-0 lead before a kill by Warson got the Comets a point. The hole was too big for West Liberty to climb out of. Highlights of the second set included a kill by Marissa Kelly, a block by C. Simon, a kill by Warson, and an ace by Molly Kelly. The final score was 25-12, West Branch.

In the third set, the Comets got off to another slow start, falling behind 12-3 before a kill by Marissa Kelly made it 12-4. Feldman got a kill for a 12-5 tally, then the Bears scored three points. Feldman got a kill on the line, then the Bears were in the net for a 16-8 score. The Comets were called for a carry, then K. Simon got a kill. A Bears’ kill was followed by a Comets time out with an 18-9 score. K. Simon got another kill, the the Bears got a kill, then K. Simon got another kill for a 19-11 score. A Bears kill made it 20-11. A tip by Kaalberg was followed by a block by the Bears. West Liberty had a double hit violation, then the Bears got another kill for a 23-12 score. The Bears hit the ball out of bounds, then Feldman got a kill. The final two points came on a placement and a kill by the Bears for a 25-14 loss for the Comets.

Down 2-1, the Comets needed a win to stay alive, and they fought tooth and nail. West Branch scored the first point on a kill, but a tip by K. Simon quickly tied the score. West Branch had two violations and an error to make it 4-1, Comets. The Bears got a kill, then West Branch had a net violation. The Comets had a serving error, then the Bears got a kill on the line, bringing them to within one point at 6-5. Feldman got a kill, then Marissa Kelly ended a fierce volley with a kill for the Comets. The Bears got a kill and a block. Then each team made a serving error. A West Branch block tied the game at nine. The Comets built a 13-10 lead on a placement by K. Simon, a West Branch error, and a kill by Warson. The Bears tied it up on a kill, an ace, and a West Liberty error.

A kill try by the Comets went out of bounds, giving the Bears a 14-13 advantage. A Bears block was followed by a kill by Warson. K. Simon’s block tied the game at 15, then a block by Marissa Kelly gave the Comets a 16-15 edge. The Bears tied it again at 16 with a kill. Marissa Kelly got a kill, West Branch was called for a double hit, then the Comets had a serving error. A kill by Feldman made it 19-17, Comets. A West Liberty error was followed by a Bears block for another tie, this one at 19. A serving error by the Bears made it 20-19. The Bears were called for a violation, but after consulting with a line judge, the call was reversed, and instead of a 21-19 Comets lead, the score was tied at 20. West Liberty hit the ball out of bounds, then a Feldman kill tied the game at 21. A West Branch error gave the Comets a 22-21 edge, then a four-hits call on the Comets tied it at 22. K. Simon got a kill, then the Bears tied it with a placement. K. Simon got a placement to take the advantage back for the Comets, but a kill by the Bears tied it again at 24. The Bears got a kill for a 25-24 score. The Comets called a time out. The final point went to West Branch when a Comet hit the ball into the net.

“West Liberty really came out and played well the whole night, especially in the first game,” West Branch Head Coach Josh Lukavsky said.

West Liberty Head Coach Melissa Brockway was pleased with how her team bounced back after a tough weekend tournament. “It was a fun game,” she said. “Nobody likes to lose, but losing is more bearable when you play well, and that was definitely the case tonight. I really thought that we did an unbelievable job. I haven’t seen them play with that much discipline and that much heart all season, so it was really exciting to see them rise to that level.

“(Set two) was a rough set, but we tried to wash our hands of it quickly and move on.

“This game was just so great. You’re always playing at home when you play West Branch. All of our fans are here, all of their fans are here. There’s just as much blue as there is red.”
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