PLYMOUTH – An outstanding season came to an end with a valiant effort by Plymouth’s Lady Pilgrims falling in the Plymouth volleyball sectional to LaPorte 25-14, 25-9, 25-14.
The Lady Pilgrims were able to match the Lady Slicers point for point in each game right up to the 10 point mark. In game one it was at 11 that LaPorte (28-8) began a run that would lead to a win. Game two the teams were tied at five when the run began and in the final game the LaPorte run began at 11 again.
“Our serve receive kind of fell apart at that time,” said Plymouth head coach Derek Eveland. “We preached all year about being a great serve receive team – a side out team. When we won matches we didn’t let teams get runs. We stayed with it. In that first game we were ahead 11-9 but then they stepped up their game. We expected they would react that way. Sometimes it’s just a steamroller and you can’t stop it.”
With an overwhelming size advantage in the front line – especially in the middle – Plymouth fought to find other ways to grab points. In the end the physical size of LaPorte would win.
“The start of it was that our communication wasn’t there from our back row players,” said Eveland. “When we did have a middle attack we really needed to work around that. If it was just the one girl we had to go around that, but a few times we hit right into her. It’s hard to hit over her but you have to go around her. When they did triple block we had trouble with that but we tipped around it under control. We tried tipping with just a single block but they had players off digging it up.”
The Lady Pilgrims had a plan to deal with LaPorte’s physicality but in the end LaPorte would solve the problem.
“Starting the games we did execute the game plan,” he said. “We wanted to serve more aggressive but for us to serve more aggressively we have to be ahead in matches. Towards the end we were down a bunch and I told the girls to go ahead and start serving more aggressively that’s the only way we’re going to score we have to get them out of their offense.
“When they are running their offense they are going to be tough to handle,” said Eveland. “They’re going to run quicks, they are going to run shoots, they are going to run a fast offense, which is our plan obviously but our passes weren’t there for that. We wanted to speed things up so only single blocks were there for our outsides and most of the time we were out of system so we had to go high set with a double block up there and that affected us early.”
In the end the Plymouth coach was happy with the fight of his squad. Earlier in the day the Lady Pilgrims blitzed South Bend Clay 25-12, 25-10, 25-9 to advance to the final.
“We had a great year,” he said. “We thought we were a year away. We thought we could build on last year’s competiveness without a lot of wins, and all of a sudden we are 5-0 in the conference and having a great year. Our seniors really stepped up and led us. We’ve got a really strong junior class and we’re looking forward to that but our seniors got us here, they led us into the sectional championship and had a great year. I was really happy with our girls.”
Plymouth defeated South Bend Clay 25-12, 25-10, 25-9
Kills – Sadie Bastardo 7, McKenzie Scheetz 6
Assists – Kendall Rhodes 12, Bailey Eveland 11
Aces – Scheetz 8, Eveland 3, Kenzie Quissell 3
LaPorte defeated Plymouth 25-14, 25-9, 25-14
Kills – Alivia Longley 6, Kenzie Quissell 6, McKenzie Scheetz 5
Assists – Bailey Eveland 11, Kendall Rhodes 10
Aces – Eveland 1
Digs – Scheetz 13, Ashley Harrell 12
Blocks – Quissell 2, Leah Smith 2
Plymouth Final Record: 22-13