Just 24 hours earlier, the Lee’s Summit North volleyball team put together an improbable comeback in the semifinals of district play against Blue Springs South, brushing off a 15-3 deficit in game one for a 25-23 win.
That comeback was crucial as the Broncos won in three games to advance to the Class 4, District 14 championship Oct. 30 against Blue Springs, where they once again needed some come-from-behind magic.
Only this time the comeback bid fell short.
LSN clawed its way back from an 8-0 deficit in game three, knotted the score at 22-all, only to eventually fall 25-22.
“In game three we didn’t come out firing. It’s hard to fight back from that,” LSN head coach Rhea Moses said after the two teams split the opening two games, 25-22, 21-25.
The Broncos had just dropped a back-and-forth game two that saw them lead 11-7 before Blue Springs eventually took command after tying the game at 18.
But still, the Bronco players looked loose and relaxed as game three began, only to have trouble with Alexis Williams’ serve.
The Wildcat senior had three aces during the 8-0 start, while the Broncos contributed with a couple of hitting errors before Tory Richardson put down a kill for North’s first point.
“I think we were hesitant,” Bronco senior Sarah Demmer said of the start to game three. “We were thinking strategically instead of killing the ball. We were over-thinking…But we definitely thought we had a chance. We had heart the entire time.”
That heart – and improved play – fueled a comeback. A North block cut it 13-8. An ace from Abby Fossey made it 14-11. A net error by Blue Springs chipped the deficit to 16-14 and forced a Wildcat timeout.
Then North overcame back-to-back hitting errors that made it 22-19 when Demmer and Richardson combined for three straight kills to tie the match at 22-all.
But the rally would fall short when Blue Springs notched a kill, scored off a Bronco error and then recorded a block for the final point and the title.
“They were ready,” Moses said of the final game. “We just struggled with unforced errors and we didn’t have any offense coming back. It’s hard to recover from that. It was a valiant effort. The seniors stepped in and did a great job and put up a great fight. I want our younger players to take note of that.”
Added Demmer, “I don’t think anything made the difference, I just think both teams played their hearts out and one team came out on top.”
The contest was a battle from the start. Blue Springs jumped out to a 19-14 lead in game one, only to have the Broncos score 11 of the final 14 points for the win.
That carried over into game two when they took the early lead, but a mixture of errors and a desperate Blue Springs team took control in the second half of game two and into game three.
“We had some unforced errors and too many in a row,” Moses said. “Blue Springs grabbed the momentum and ran with it. We had to control the ball and we struggled with that in game two.”
The loss ended North’s season at 15-17-1, a season that was similar to the final game in that it had its ups and downs.
“They show a lot of fight and desire,” Moses said. “Consistency is what we need to work on. We’re very young, but I’m excited for the future.”
And while Demmer didn’t go out with a win, she did go out fighting to the end with her teammates.
“Every girl had passion, heart and drive,” she said. “I think the team worked so well together, on and off the court. We built some great friendships. This was one of my favorite years.”