The dejected looks on the faces of Marion Warriors players was misrepresentative of the success they had at Marion Spikefest invitational tournament on Saturday — and all season long — and head coach Brea Campbell let them know in the moments after losing to the Wichita Defenders 25-20, 25-22.
“You guys are 12-1,” she reminded the team. “That’s awesome. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Indeed, the Warriors had scrapped themselves to four relatively easy wins as the inevitable showdown with the home-school based team drew nearer.
The day began in pool play with a 25-18, 25-16 win over Centre. Matches against Halstead and Sedgwick netted similar results, with the Warriors winning 25-15, 25-15, then 25-12, 25-22.
Elimination play brought the Warriors up against the Lyons Lions. Marion again was able to pull away in the first set and use the momentum to roll through the second, winning 25-15, 25-12.
The Warriors’ only challenge of the day was quite a challenge from the taller Wichita squad.
After two quick points Marion fell behind big in the first set, eventually trailing 17-7. The Warriors built momentum by finishing that game out on a 13-8 run to fall 25-20.
“We knew that they were the best team we were gonna see, so it took them a little bit to figure out, ‘You know, we’re just as good. We can put up a fight against them,’” Campbell said. “And they figured that out eventually and they knew that going into the second game.”
Marion started quick again with a 4-1 lead. The Defenders dug in from there and came back, eventually overtaking the Warriors at 13-12.
The Warriors would fight valiantly from there, but quick sets coupled with Wichita’s height advantage proved too much for the host team.
“They had very quick hitting, quicker than we’ve seen so far,” Campbell said. “That was our biggest problem, we had trouble adjusting to it and getting to the spots we needed to be in. But, you know, we came back, figured it out, and we got way scrappier the second game. We knew what was coming.”
Kirsten Hansen and Kourtney Hansen were again named to the all-tournament team; both were named to the all-tournament roster of the Cougar Classic tournament Sept. 12.