ROSSVILLE — The Lewis Cass volleyball team was looking to build off some late-season success in its rematch with Rossville on Tuesday at the Class 2A Rossville Sectional
The Kings came out strong and took the first set. But the Hornets quickly regrouped and were able to win in a closely played four-set match, 21-25, 25-17, 25-11, 25-20.
The Kings (7-23) dealt with heavy losses to graduation this year but still were able to build and play their best volleyball late in the season. They recorded wins against Kokomo, Western and Twin Lakes over the final week of the regular season.
They took that momentum into the first set against the Hornets (15-15), jumping out to a 22-12 lead and holding on for a 25-21 win.
But it was the Hornets that jumped out to leads in each of the next three sets. The Kings were within 18-17 in the fourth set before the Hornets went on a 4-0 run to take a five-point lead. The Kings were within 23-20 when Demi Freeman dialed up back-to-back kills to end the match.
“Obviously it’s tough to lose. Rossville’s a really good team,” Cass coach Katie Easter said. “I thought we were pretty evenly matched throughout the whole match, it was just going to come down to who made the least amount of errors, who could finish those plays. I was so proud of how we came out that first set, just the fire and intensity. My heart breaks for the seniors because it’s tough to lose like that. But I’m proud of how they played. I’m glad that they worked hard and gave it their all and it wasn’t a blowout.”
Kendal Johnson had 11 kills, 12 assists and three aces in her final match for the Kings. Senior Cana Jones collected 13 digs. Maci Garland had five kills, seven digs and three aces. Haley Miller posted seven kills and nine assists. Elly Logan added eight digs.
“This season obviously didn’t go as we planned. But I don’t think our record really reflected how we did this season because we lost so many games that were close,” Easter said. “I thought that beating Kokomo in three at home was really good to give us some momentum to go into this match. I think that helped us to start this game. I just think we made too many unforced errors in the end and played a little timid. But it definitely was still a really good match.”
The Kings had just a seven-player varsity rotation this season. Easter said she played a couple juniors JV-only to get more reps for them but they should be ready for varsity next year. But the Kings will miss their three seniors, Johnson, Jones and Ashlee Lindley.
“This senior class is really special,” Easter said. “They were sophomores when I came in and they’re the type of class that you wish you could have every year and that would never graduate. Not only in their ability but their work ethic and their leadership and teamwork that they show.
“Cana is a great DS and I really took her out of her role this year and turned her into an outside hitter because that’s what we needed and that’s the type of person that she’ll do whatever the team needed. I thought this year she played out of her comfort zone and I thought she rocked it.
“Kendal moving to Lewis Cass was probably one of the best things could happen for us. She’s a great person off the court but an even harder worker in the gym. To have her as a hitter and a setter this year and last year has been really awesome.
“Ashlee, she’s just one of those players that makes practice fun. She’s goofy, she works hard and you can throw her anywhere. I appreciate all of their willingness to do whatever the team needs the past few years and they’re definitely going to be missed.”