The Marion High School Lady Warrior volleyball team rode two strong come-from-behind match wins to a 4-1 record and a second-place finish Saturday at the Belle Plaine Invitational Tournament.
Marion entered the final match of the day as the tournament’s only unbeaten team, but could not overcome a strong showing by Trinity Academy, who won the tournament by virtue of their head-to-head win over the Lady Warriors.
“I think we could’ve competed with Trinity, so that’s a little bit of a disappointment,” Marion head coach Jim Versch said.
Marion got off to a strong start by defeating Attica 2-0 in the first round, 25-21 and 25-18.
But the Lady Warriors cooled off quickly against host Belle Plaine in the first game of the second match, falling behind 20-10 and never seriously threatening the Lady Dragons in a 25-14 loss.
Kills by Briana Hall and Whitney Gordon got Marion off to a 7-3 lead in the second game, but Belle Plaine fought back for ties at 8-8 and 13-13. The Lady Warriors pulled away from that point forward, capitalizing on strong backcourt play and serving to even the match with a 25-17 win.
Marion raced to the lead in the third game, 11-5, but Belle Plaine rebounded to tie the contest at 15-15, and then take the lead, 19-16. Following a Marion timeout, Belle Plaine gave up a point on a service fault, and with Gordon serving Marion reclaimed the lead, 20-19. The Lady Warriors completed the comeback when Hall dropped a shot into an empty spot in the Lady Dragon defense to secure a 25-23 win and a 2-1 match victory.
Otis-Bison was the next Marion opponent, and the Lady Warriors quickly moved out to a 7-3 lead. Then the Lady Cougars scorched Marion for nine consecutive points and a 12-7 lead. Marion fought back from two 5-point deficits to reclaim the lead, 20-19, but Lady Cougar Boone MacKenzie scored two kills late to give Otis-Bison a 25-23 win.
Marion embarked on their second comeback attempt by taking command early, vaulting to a 13-8 advantage. The Lady Cougars pulled to within three before Marion went on a 9-3 run to win the game 25-16.
The Lady Warriors trailed early in the third game before coming back to tie at 10-10. From that point on, Marion dominated, outscoring Otis-Bison 15-5 for a 25-15 win and their second come-from-behind 2-1 match win.
Looking confident after their two match rallies, the Lady Warriors easily brushed off South Barber, trouncing the Lady Chieftans 25-14 and 25-8.
The final match of the day pitted Marion against Trinity Academy.
Marion controlled play at the outset, with Katey Ehrlich and Hall contributing strong play at the net as the Lady Warriors claimed an 8-5 edge. Trinity scored five consecutive points to lead 10-8, Marion clawed back to grab a short-lived lead at 16-15. The Lady Knights responded with four points of their own, and held Marion off down the stretch to win 25-21.
The Lady Warriors came out flat in the second game, and Trinity dominated from the outset, opening with an 8-0 run on the way to a crushing 25-8 win to secure the tournament championship.
Gordon was the only Lady Warrior named to the all-tournament team.
While the final match loss was disappointing, Versch was encouraged by the Lady Warriors’ performance in the tournament.
“I saw a lot of great things – we got down and we still came back. That really helped us as far as a team today, the comeback wins,” Versch said.
Marion improved their overall season record to 12-15, and their Heart of America league mark is 4-5.
The Lady Warriors were scheduled to wrap up regular season play Tuesday with league matches against Canton-Galva and Sedgwick in Sedgwick. Marion will play in the HOA league tournament Oct. 15.