MOUNT PULASKI — Mishits, rotation errors and net serves were the wrong combination for the Schlarman Academy volleyball team on Saturday night.
For the second straight season, the Hilltoppers saw their season end with a loss in the IHSA Class 1A Super-Sectional, this time around it was the West Prairie Cyclones defeating Schlarman 25-11, 25-21 in the match played at Mount Pulaski High School.
“That was our problem,’’ Schlarman Academy coach Heidi Crane said. “We just had an off night and it wasn’t our time.’’
And did this one feel different that last year’s loss to Mount Pulaski at Woodland High School.
“It’s probably worse,’’ Crane said. “Last year, it was about our experience. We improved our tournaments that we play during the year. Our overall record was still better. We thought we did everything we had to do to be successful this year.
“When it doesn’t happen like you planned, it’s a little tougher to swallow.’’
Schlarman senior Jordan Marganski, who had a team-high eight assists, said it was still the same disappointment.
“We are a stronger team this year,’’ she said. “We expected to be able to get past this round.’’
But a slow start in the opening set, the Cyclones scored 10 of the first 11 points, led to the Hilltoppers dropping it 25-11. In sectional victories over Blue Ridge and Lexington, Schlarman (31-5) was able to overcome slow starts in both matches.
“This time it wasn’t just a slow start, we dug ourselves a hole and we couldn’t get out of it,’’ Crane said.
Schlarman had just four kills in that set and all four came from junior Laura Gross, who had a team-high seven kills i the match.
“We just played really sloppy in that first set,’’ said Gross, who also had a team-high three blocks. “We had to play cleaner volleyball if we were going to win this match.