A first-game victory wasn’t enough as the Manitowoc Lincoln volleyball team dropped its WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal to West Bend East 25-27, 25-19, 25-15, 25-18 Thursday night.
The two teams also met in last year’s sectional semifinals, with East emerging victorious.
After taking the first game, the Ships jumped out to an 8-2 lead in game two, forcing the Suns to call timeout.
East went on to score the next seven points to take a 9-8 lead and eventually took the game 25-19 to even the match at one apiece.
Lincoln head coach Mary Beth Dixon then called a timeout of her own to talk with her team.
“We just said ‘you have to pass the ball’ and that’s what we weren’t doing,” Dixon said. “It was just mental errors. We talk about mental errors all the time. But I think we had a run of six or seven mental errors where things could have gone a different way, but we didn’t make that happen.”
The Suns captured the third game and never looked back.
“The third game, we couldn’t pass the ball,” Dixon said. “We couldn’t get a ball in front of the 10-foot line, even on serve receive. Credit to West Bend East, they served us aggressively.”
“It takes you out of the system. You can’t run the ball you want to run. You can’t hit the balls you want to hit.”
After falling behind 9-4 in the fourth game, Manitowoc began to show signs of life. Coming out of a timeout, the Ships rallied to gain a 10-9 advantage. They eventually led 16-15.
Behind by a point late in the fourth, the Suns began to pick up steam, scoring 10 of the game’s last 13 points to win the match.
Alyssa Fischer had nine kills for Lincoln. Britney Youngchild posted a team-high 25 digs, while Mallory Dixon recorded 31 assists to go along with 24 digs.
Alyssa Grotegut and Stephanie Winans each finished the night with eight blocks for Manitowoc.
It’s not the way any team wants its season to end, but Dixon knows that, one day, her seniors will recall this season fondly – a campaign which resulted in a second consecutive regional title.
“I know what their goals were and I think, in their minds, years from now, they’re going to be happy with what they’ve done,” Dixon said. “I know the seniors felt like they were short, like there were some things they wanted to accomplish that they didn’t accomplish.”
Before the team broke its huddle for the last time, Dixon made a point to her younger players who will be returning in 2014.
“When the seniors are sad…we have to look for our returning players to know what that feeling is, so they can make a change on that next year,” Dixon said. “Somewhere somebody has to make that change.”