Lady Eagles’ magic ride comes to an end
Partially due to inconsistent play and partially due to facing a balanced team, Lanesville’s volleyballers saw their history-making season come to a bittersweet close on Saturday at the Class 1A West Washington Regional.
The Lady Eagles spotted No. 10-ranked Morristown a 10-1 lead in the first game before falling by a respectible margin, 25-20.
Lanesville (23-13) led for much of the second set before suffering a 25-22 setback, and then saved face by holding off a late charge by the Yellowjackets in the third game to win, 25-21. The two clubs played most of the fourth game even, then Morristown raced away for the match-ending 25-21 victory.
‘It may have been nerves. We had a lift call right off the bat and I think that messed with our heads a little bit. I expected us to be a little slow to start off with, but we regrouped and came back pretty well. We just never put anything together in that first game,’ Lanesville second-year coach D.J. Zipp said. ‘There’s no doubt Morristown is good, but we beat ourselves in a lot of areas today.’
A hitting error by Morristown (17-19) started the day, but wound up being the only point Lanesville would score until a service error by Chelsey Carlton made it 10-2.
The Yellow Jackets maintained the lead for most of the first game, 19-11, but a hitting error sparked a 6-0 spurt by Lanesville.
The Lady Eagles scored on a dink and kill by Maegan VanHoose and a spike by Brittney Gayhart. After Morristown’s hard swinger, Casey Gumberts, scored twice and Kylie Kesar aced, Lanesville would close the gap again on a pair of visiting team hitting errors and an ace by Tabitha Wernert. Erin Harbeson trimmed the gap to 24-20 on a score, but Gumberts killed again to end the first game.
Three hitting errors and kills by Wernert and Gayhart helped give Lanesville a 7-5 lead in the second game. Back-to-back kills by Brittany Johnson and another Morristown hitting miscue pushed the advantage to 12-5.
Slowly, the Yellow Jackets chipped away at the deficit.
Carlton, Kesar, Kaylee Downing and Mary Nolen all scored for Morristown, which stormed back to make it 21-20.
A kill by Downing tied the affair and then Kesar dinked to give Morristown its second lead of the set.
The Lady Eagles had two hitting errors, but Jessica Schmelz slowed the slide with a kill to make the score 24-22 in favor of Morristown.
Downing ended the heart-breaker for Lanesville, however, 25-22.
The Lady Eagles surged ahead in the third game, countering aces by Carlton with perfect serves by Wolfe and Wernert.
More kills by VanHoose and Schmelz and strong back row play by libero Beth Dorgay and Amanda Johnson put Morristown on its heels.
The Yellow Jackets misfired on the game’s final point, giving Lanesville its first ‘ and only ‘ victory of the day.
The fourth set turned out to be a repeat of the first game, with Morristown leading most of the way en route to the win.
‘We played great in spurts and should have won that second game,’ Zipp said. ‘The girls rebounded really well and came back to win the third game and put themselves in a position to win the fourth. We made a few mistakes, but overall we played good defense and did a lot of good things.’
The team loses six seniors: Dorgay, Schmelz, VanHoose, Johnson, Wolfe and Wernert.
‘Anytime you lose six seniors, it’s going to be a rebuilding year,’ Zipp said, looking ahead to next season. ‘They helped build a good foundation at Lanesville, so hopefully the season we had will inspire some of the returning players to play volleyball year around to get better.’