Lisle was trying to extend a three-match win streak Thursday against visiting Coal City.
But the Coalers took advantage of some atypical mistakes and a somewhat lifeless effort by the Lions to pull out a 25-22, 25-13 Interstate Eight Conference victory.
"They were supposed to beat us," Lisle coach Bonnie Pettigrew said. "They're the better team. But it's like any sport. Any coach would say it's frustrating to lose because of lack of effort and energy.
"Again, at the end of the day they're probably the better team," she added. "But I would have liked a better effort on our kids' part. That's the part that's frustrating. We're going in the regionals starting mostly seniors who need to pick it up a notch."
Lisle (9-17, 4-5) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, but Coal City countered with a 17-4 run behind the hard hitting of Katelyn Sisk to build a 17-9 lead.
Kills by Alexa Fasone and Francesca Wagoner got Lisle within 22-21, but a Sisk kill, a lift call and a Lisle error allowed the visitors to close out Game 1.
"It was very tough, very tough to lose the first game," Wagoner said. "We were trying to make this our fourth win in a row and we said, 'Hey. let's pick it up.' That's exactly what we were talking about between games. Just pick it up like we did the other times."
But Coal City fired out to an 11-4 lead in the second set and Lisle never got closer than 5 points at 13-8 on an ace by Josie Brinegar.
"The part that's frustrating is that we were within a couple points and we already had six or seven missed serves," Pettigrew said. "Take those out and we would've won that first game. Again, at the varsity level these girls need to learn you need to serve over the gosh darn net.
"We beat a couple of good teams recently," she added. "I don't know if we beat this team, but we sure could've given them a much better run for their money."
Wagoner led Lisle with 4 kills and a block. Fasone added 3 kills and an ace and sophomore Kaitlyn Angileri contributed 8 assists.
Brooke Chapman had 16 assists, 3 kills and an ace for Coal City (14-11-1, 7-3).
"I think the intensity wasn't there," Wagoner said. "We were definitely down on ourselves and got into a hole. We weren't able to pull ourselves back out of it."