West Jones forced a fifth and deciding set Tuesday night against West Harrison in Round 1 of the Class 5A volleyball playoffs. However, the fifth and deciding set fell in the visitors' favor, 15-13, as the Lady Mustangs' season comes to an end.
"We started on fire," said West Jones head coach Josh Sullivan. "We played well, our serves were in, but you could see in the second set that the momentum was leaving us. Our serves fell off, and instead of getting four or five in a row, we were hitting one in and then missing the next. If you can't serve, you can't win; that's the name of the game.
“Kudos to West Harrison for getting their serves in and playing the momentum.”
West Jones won the first set 25-14, extending its lead to double-digits early. In the second set, the lead changed hands on 12 occasions. West Harrison broke away midway through and held on to tie the match at one set apiece.
After leading early in the third set, West Jones ran out of momentum as the lead changed hands again multiple times. West Harrison, once again, pulled ahead late to take the set.
"We were able to bounce back in the fourth set," said Sullivan. "The first and the fourth set, we handled them as we wanted to all night. But it takes three. We have to win three, and we were not able to pull it out in the end."
West Jones forced the fifth and final set with a 25-13 win in the fourth.
West Harrison carried all the momentum in the final set to win, 15-13. West Jones tied the set a few times but was never able to pull ahead.
"We've played them before," said Sullivan. "We've seen what they can do. They like to hit the ball deep, so we took that away from them the first couple of sets. Then they started to tip over the ball or hit it, which kept us outbalance and guessing. And we didn't feel at any point that they had a clean swing that we couldn't defend. Our blockers did well tonight.
"Our girls played hard, and that's all you can ask for."
“It stinks for my senior Maddie Mclean,” added Sullivan. “She’s played so well for me all year. She’s worked so hard for us all year. She deserves a lot of credit for what she was able to do this year. She held her head up through all of the hardships. She’s played for us for a few years now, and she’s earned her time on the court. I’m so proud of her.”
West Jones finishes the season 15-10, overall.