The Marion volleyball team faced a familiar opponent in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A sub-state hosted by Inman Saturday.
The No. 5 seed heading into the tournament with an overall record of 17-18, the Warriors faced Heart of America league opponent Inman, seeded fourth at 21-14.
Marion had faced Inman twice in the weeks leading up to the sub-state tournament, first suffering a two-set loss to the Teutons Sept. 18 (25-16, 26-24), but defeating Inman in the Heart of America league tournament the week before, 25-10, 25-19.
But in the sub-state tournament, Marion suffered a season-ending, three-set loss to the Teutons. The Warriors lost Set 1, 25-18, then bounced back to win a tightly-contested Set 2, 26-24. Inman, however, claimed the victory in Set 3 with a 25-18 win.
“We came out flat, they got ahead and we panicked the first set,” coach Kris Burkholder said. “The second (set), we came back and we beat them 26-24, but towards the end of that (set), they started coming back. In fact, at one time, it was 24-18 us, and they came back and tied it 24-24. So the momentum switched at the end of that game in their favor.”
Set 3 became a mental battle, Burkholder said.
“We were thinking too far ahead, especially in that third (set) instead of just paying attention to what was going on right then.”
Burkholder credited Inman for improving its play.
“Inman played much better than we had seen them the first two times we played them,” she said. “They were really doing a great job on serve-receive. They were being aggressive at the net and hitting. We struggled (with) serve-receive.”
For seniors Corrina Crabb, Michaela Regnier and Tori Shults, it was their final match in a Warrior uniform.
The Warriors conclude the season with an overall record of 17-19. Inman went on to lose to eventual champion Ellinwood in the semifinals.
Burkholder praised her team for the growth shown this season and expressed optimism for what’s ahead.
“I think they showed a lot of growth,” she said. “I’m excited about next year because we have so many of our varsity players coming back.
“I look for us to be just as good or better next year because overall, our girls will have had more experience than coming in this year.”