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Marion volleyball team makes late-season push

Warriors surge to semifinals at league tournament

Staff writer

After struggling during the middle part of the season, Marion volleyball capped their regular season with a run to the Heart of America tournament semifinals.

Marion has gone 6-2 in the past eight days, including a 3-0 performance Oct. 9.

“Between Oct. 9 and Saturday, we played better than we have all year,” coach Kris Burkholder said.

The team went 3-1 in pool play at HOA, which led them to the semifinals.

The success was due to execution and cohesion between players, Burkholder said.

“Everybody’s starting to trust they can do their jobs and trust their teammates,” she said.

They lost to the Trinity Celtics in pool play, but beat Inman, Sterling, and Ell-Saline.

Throughout the season, the Warriors’ strong suit has been their serving, and that continued Saturday. They averaged 22.2 serves per set, with a 91.7 percent success rate.

Marion’s service game was especially strong against Ell-Saline, totaling 50 over two sets. The team made only three service errors, while Chisolm Waner, setter Chloe Burkholder, and libero Jayden May each had a pair of aces.

Tori Schults dominated the net against Ell-Saline, picking up five blocks. She played well on the attack, with five kills on 11 spikes.

The Warriors played the best on the attack in the match against Sterling, where they won two of three sets, 25-22, 27-29, 25-21. Marion averaged nine kills per set and three players had more than five. Lily Lundy and Tori led the way with eight apiece, and Laura Savage contributed six kills.

The aggressive play started at the back line, Burkholder said.

“We have to get the passes up to the setter,” she said. “We talked about reading the other team, reading the defense.”

Marion’s defense was tested repeatedly in the semifinal against Moundridge. They averaged 37.7 digs per set, led by Jayden with 34 total digs. While no other player had more than 25, five others had at least 10 digs, with Chloe, Chisholm, and Lily adding at least 15 each.

In spite of the defensive effort, Moundridge proved too much, winning 25-18, 26-28, 25-21.

Last modified Oct. 17, 2018

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