Lady ‘Rocks go down swinging in district loss

Kevin Sutton Special to The Enterprise Published:

OLD WASHINGTON — A standout season on the volleyball court for the Barnesville High Lady Shamrocks came to an end on Tuesday night with a loss to the Garaway High Lady Pirates in Division IV district volleyball action at Buckeye Trail High School.

The Lady ‘Rocks dropped a 25-23, 25-11, 26-24 decision to end the season with a fine mark of 19-6 under the direction of head coach Nikki McEndree.

“I’m always proud of my girls when they battle,” McEndree said. “And that’s just what they did tonight, it might not have been our best match but they were out there battling.”

Barnesville started off well in game one, jumping out to a 10-5 lead following a kill from sophomore Miranda Plumly, but the Lady Pirates came storming back thanks to the serving efforts of junior Cassie Yoder.

Yoder reeled off five consecutive points to draw even at 10-10, the two teams then exchanged points to once again stand tied at 11-11. From that point the Lady Pirates took the lead and held onto it until late in the contest when the Lady ‘Rocks mounted one last attempt to get back into the game.

Trailing 20-18, Barnesville senior Marrissa Burga stepped behind the service line and put together two straight service points to pull even once again, this time at 20-20. Garaway would then close the game with a 5-3 edge to claim the game one win on a serve point from junior Hannah Foster.

Game two would pretty much belong to the Lady Pirates, with the only Lady ‘Rocks leads in the game were in the early stages of action at 2-1, 3-2 and 5-4...from that point Garaway maintained the lead for the comfortable victory and a huge 2-0 lead in the match.

“I was really proud of our effort in game one and game three,” McEndree said. “In game two we just kind of let it get away from us with some silly mistakes.”

Needing a win to stay alive, game three started slowly for the Lady ‘Rocks falling behind by a 5-1 margin in the early going. Barnesville drew even at 7-7 on a point from sophomore Paige Huntsman, but Garaway quickly responded with a 7-2 run led by some solid work at the net from Foster, who tallied four thundering kills during the stretch to give Garaway a 14-9 advantage.

Barnesville continued to battle, and was able to pull even again at 15-15 thanks to some solid serving from senior setter Paige Gibbons. Gibbons strung together six quick points for the Lady ‘Rocks to fight their way back into contention.

But again the Lady Pirates came roaring back to inch back into the lead at 21-16 forcing McEndree to call a time-out to slow the momentum.

The TO call worked, as following the break in action the Lady ‘Rocks three straight points with senior Kelsey Douglas pulling the serving trigger to pull within 21-19. With the action heating up, Barnesville made another last ditch effort to stay alive. Trailing 23-22, Burga again came up big with two straight points to put the Lady ‘Rocks up 24-23 with Burga serving game point. Garaway however would record the next three points, with Foster again coming up big with a pair of big-time kills to claim game three and the match.

With the loss, the Lady ‘Rocks will be without the services of seven seniors who played in their final volleyball match for Barnesville. That group of veteran players included Gibbons, Douglas, Burga, Lane Hanlon, Sydney Bruce, Hunter Weiss and Raquel Bahmer.

“We’re really going to miss our seniors next year,” McEndree said. “They have given us a lot and our just a quality group, fun to work with.”

Leading the Lady ‘Rocks effort was Gibbons with eight points (1 ace), two kills, 12 assists and 11 digs, while Burga finished with five points (2 aces), four kills, one assist and eight digs. Douglas chipped in with four points, five kills and one block, with Huntsman adding two points (2 aces), three kills, seven assists, two blocks and eight digs. Bruce tallied one point, one kills and 11 digs for the Lady ‘Rocks.

Foster would led the Lady Pirates with 20 kills, two blocks and 23 digs, while Karissa Swihart added 13 kills, three blocks and 19 digs. Courtney Putt would hand out 33 assists and tally 17 digs, with Katie Walter chipping in with 10 digs and two kills.

Garaway improves to 14-10 on the season and will now take on Tuscarawas Central Catholic on Thursday night at 6 p.m. back at Buckeye Trail High School in the district championship match.

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