Marion loses to Silver Lake in Class 3A sub-state semifinals

Taelyn Pagel passes the ball during Marion’s quarterfinal match with Southeast of Saline Saturday at Riley County. Marion won in two sets but then lost to top-ranked Silver Lake in the semifinals, concluding the season with an overall record of 28-11.The Marion volleyball team’s season came to a close in the semifinals of the Class 3A sub-state tournament hosted by Riley County Saturday.

The No. 4 seed in the tournament, Marion faced a familiar quarterfinal opponent in No. 5 Southeast of Saline to start the day. Having lost to SES in three sets in September, the Warriors achieved a different outcome this time.

Marion led from start to finish in its 25-20 Set 1 win, but the lead changed hands in Set 2 before the Warriors claimed a 25-21 victory.

“We knew that we could be a better team than when we played them (last), and we needed to prove it,” coach Brea Campbell said. “Instead of looking at sub-state as a whole, we broke it down and really went after Southeast.

“We kind of knew what to look for. We knew what to shut down. We knew what to emphasize.”

However, in the semifinals, the Warriors ran into Silver Lake, who ranks first in the state in Class 3A. The Eagles won state titles in 2013 and 2014.

Silver Lake lived up to its No. 1 seed, defeating Marion in two sets, 25-9, 25-13, then defeating Riley County in the championship, 25-11, 25-13, to punch a ticket to state.

“That’s the hardest hitting that we’ve seen so far,” Campbell said of Silver Lake. “And it’s very controlled. They’re a very, very controlled team. Their defense is just so fluid.”

Campbell said the scores were not indicative of how the Warriors battled against the Eagles.

“I thought the girls did very well against them,” she said. “The scores didn’t really show it, but what they don’t show is how many volleys that we went into with that team. The first game, I think we maybe got a little bit intimidated because of who we were playing—we knew that they were really good—but the second game, (we) came out and (the girls) were like, ‘You’re not going to do that to us again.’ We had a lot of volleys with that team.”

Campbell said winning a sub-state game was a defining moment for the team.

“Last year, we played not to lose instead of playing to win,” she said. “I think these girls finally got a taste of what playing to win actually looks like.”

For six seniors—Katelyn Christensen, Falon Crawford, Shelby Felvus, Marissa Jacobson, Madison Miller and Taelyn Pagel—the game was their last in a Warrior volleyball uniform.

“They are some of the most hard-working individuals that I know,” Campbell said of her seniors. “They came into this season knowing that they had to step up. They didn’t care what their role was, they just knew they needed to do it well. They are role-accepters, and they were all leaders in different aspects of my court.”

Marion concludes the season with an overall record of 28-11.

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