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Warrior volleyball seasons ends at sub-state

Staff writer

The cramped corridor of Robert C. Brown Gymnasium was all red eyes, bittersweet smiles, and blue body paint as the Warriors exited their locker room one-by-one to a coterie of parents and fellow students offering hugs of support. It was a familiar scene in high school athletics — a prideful team accepting its fate.

Marion was ousted from the sub-state tournament by Southeast of Saline in two sets that seemed to happen quicker than the postgame procession out of the locker room.

Marion fans came out in support, with students spelling out WARRIORS in white-painted letters over blue-painted chests, and parents wearing Marion volleyball T-shirts.

The support wasn’t enough for the Warriors to withstand the Lady Trojans attack.

The match began well enough, as a back-and-forth opening set saw Marion slowly leverage a lead, but a 22-19 lead preceded a Southeast of Saline run that spanned two sets and effectively eliminated the higher-seeded Marion squad.

A 23-25 defeat in the first set put Marion’s back to the wall, and Southeast of Saline jumped to a 9-0 lead in the beginning of set two despite timeouts from head coach Brady Hudson.

“We hid in our shell,” he said of the second set’s start. Marion dug in and competed but couldn’t gain the traction it needed, and was unable to get the deficit to fewer than seven points.

After the final point, the team filed out from the gymnasium past the ongoing match on the other court and into the locker room,. The crowd followed, gathering outside to show support.

Senior Sam Davies was the first out of the locker room. Marion’s team personality all year long was loose and goofy, and Hudson said Davies was the most goofy player on the team. She was always a positive teammate, he said, and he knew he had to coach her with positivity, which he understood because that’s what he needed as a player.

If Davies was a primary leader off the floor, it was fellow senior Julia Hall — the last player out of the locker room — who filled that role for the Warriors on the floor. Hall, a setter by trade in club ball, was Marion’s only player taller than 5-foot-7. She took on the responsibility of playing middle blocker, which Hudson said is probably the most difficult position. Nearly every coaching decision Hudson made, especially early in the season, he ran by her. She helped him get acclimated, he said, and in return he pushed her to be better. Hall was an honorable mention for the Heart of America All-League team.

Marion’s final record was 28-9, the best in recent memory; Hudson said he tried to find when Marion last had a record that good and couldn’t do so.

It was Hudson’s first season coaching volleyball at any level, and looking back he said there were some things he would do differently, but one thing he definitely would not change was the group of girls he had.

“They made it cake,” he said.

Marion starters Marissa Jacobson, Shelby Felvus, Erika Hess, Kourtney Hanson, and all-league setter Kirsten Hanson, as well as reserves Emily Schneider, Falon Crawford, Bailey Robson, and Marshelle Mermis, are eligible to return next season.

Last modified Oct. 30, 2014

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