The Marion High School Lady Warriors went 0-3 in pool play Saturday, but gave eventual tournament champion Sedgwick a scare before bowing out of the fifth annual Marion Spikefest volleyball tournament.
The Lady Warriors, second-place finishers at the Centre tournament the week before, were seeded seventh going into the eight-team tournament. As a result, they faced a difficult draw in pool play that included second-seed Halstead and eventual champion Sedgwick.
Marion faced off against Halstead in the first match of the day. The Lady Dragons controlled both games, winning 25-18 and 25-13.
The second match for the Lady Warriors was against third-seeded Sedgwick, who Marion had played and lost to Sept. 6 at Berean Academy.
Marion proved to be a sterner test on their home court for the Lady Cardinals. After losing the first game of the match 25-20, Marion fought back hard against the Lady Cardinals, pushing the match to 24-24 before Sedgwick managed to put the game and match away with a 26-24 win.
“We came out ready to play and competed against a very good Sedgwick team,” Marion head coach Jim Versch said.
Canton-Galva was Marion’s third opponent in pool play. The Lady Eagles had won one game against Sedgwick in an earlier match, and they brought that intensity to their matchup with the Lady Warriors, defeating Marion 25-13 and 25-19.
“This was a team we should have matched up to,” Versch said. “We need to work on mental preparation before matches and the desire to finish a game.
“I still feel like this could be a very good team, but we need to find our identity and play up to our abilities,” Versch said.
Versch did find some positives in the matches.
“I was impressed by Katie Ehrlich – fighting through the pain of a knee injury, she continued to set the ball well,” Versch said. “We got good back row play from libero Megan Richmond.”
Halstead advanced to the tournament semifinals as champion of pool B, where they were defeated by Eureka.
Pool B runner-up Sedgwick found itself matched against the winner of pool A, Berean Academy, in the other semifinal. Sedgwick followed up on a 2-1 match win against Berean earlier in the season by defeating the Lady Warriors in two games to advance to the final.
Sedgwick dispatched top-seed Eureka in two games, 25-23 and 25-13, to win the tournament championship.
Lady Cardinal players Emily Bebermeyer and Brooke Grattan headlined the all-tournament team, which included Hayley Pitko and Ashlen Schwartz of Eureka, Aubrie VanSteenburg of Halstead, Alyson Bressie of Canton-Galva, and Makayla Ladwig of Berean Academy.
The operation of the tournament went smoothly, which Marion High School athletic director Grant Thierolf attributed to good organization and volunteer contributions.
“We have great volunteers here who come in and work well,” Thierolf said. “Tabor College did a great job for us bringing trackers and scorers for the tournament.
“Tod Gordon has done a great job organizing it so that we have a professionally run volleyball tournament,” Thierolf said.
Attendance for the tournament was also good, according to Thierolf.
“Sedgwick travels well, Berean travels well – all the area schools do a good job of supporting their teams,” Thierolf said. “I thought the attendance was very good.”
“We heard nothing but positive comments from players, from coaches, and from parents,” Thierolf said.
Marion returned to action Tuesday, hosting Remington, Canton-Galva, and Inman at Marion Sports and Aquatic Center. The Lady Warriors will be idle Saturday, and will host a second quadrangular match next week starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
In the Marion quadrangular meet, Marion defeated Canton-Galva 2-0 (25-12, 25-13). Marion lost to Remington 1-2 (15-25, 25-23, 22-25).