For a second consecutive week, Marion volleyballers hoisted a tournament championship plaque, but this one was sweeter because it came in the Marion Spikefest on Saturday at Marion Sports and Aquatics Center.
The Lady Warriors spoiled Centre’s shot at winning the Cougars’ tournament last week, so Centre tried returning the favor in pool play. While Marion won the first game handily, 25-8, Centre put up a more robust challenge in the second, taking the Lady Warriors down to the wire before losing the second game and match 25-22.
A familiar opponent yielded familiar results when Marion topped Berean Academy 25-15, 25-16, and the Lady Warriors closed out pool play with a two-game win over Lyons, 25-18, 25-21.
Halstead was up next in the semifinal round, giving Marion all it could handle in opening small lead. But the Lady Warriors didn’t get rattled, and continued to rely on methodical, precision play. Spurred by big plays from Jessi Lewman and Kourtney Hansen, Marion fended off a late surge to win the game 25-23. The second game was no contest, with Marion racing to a 10-1 lead and coasting to the finals with a 25-12 win.
A rematch with Lyons, an upset winner over Eureka in the other semifinal, had similar results, with Marion coming out on top 25-19, 25-19.
“That’s the volleyball team I love to watch,” coach Brea Campbell said. “They put the ball down, they get the job done. At different points during the day we had a different key player, but it worked really well. It’s a fun team to watch.”
Campbell said the team’s attention to how their opponents positioned themselves was an important element in winning.
“I think we see the court really well, so when we’re moving and transitioning we have that chance to see where their defense is,” she said. “It’s very hard to find a team that can do that.”
Campbell praised Jessi Lewman’s blocking skills and for having a knack to get kills at critical points. Bailey Baker stepped up with strong outside hitting, and both she and Falon Crawford provided consistency when the team needed it, Campbell said.
“Sometimes those girls do things I never thought they would be able to do,” she said. “It’s awesome to see that as a coach, to see that confidence in players, because they how important their role is on that team. I think they’re finally getting to understand those roles.”
The Lady Warriors notched two more match victories in Tuesday action at Moundridge.
In a seesaw battle, Marion got the best of Inman, 25-16, 21-25, 25-20. They also won against Bennington, 25-20, 25-13.