Girls volleyball: Keith ousts Harvest Christian again
It was the same old song and dance for Harvest Christian on Saturday as another great season ended on a sour note for the fourth straight year in the Class 1A supersectional.
But despite the disappointing 25-18, 25-10 loss on their home floor to Keith Country Day the mood was rather upbeat afterward for the Lions as seniors reflected back on the legacy they have left behind, underclassmen looked forward to what lies ahead, and coach Kim Floyd praised the team for this year's accomplishments.
Furthermore, there was little shame in losing to the two-time defending Class 1A champions, who have two Division-I bound players on the roster.
"They are just really really good," Harvest coach Kim Floyd said. "We tried our best to put up blocks, but there is a reason why their two hitters are going on to play Division I at the next level. We managed to stay with them for a while, but eventually they just took over."
Unlike the last three years when the expectations were high and the Lions had a highly touted college prospect of their own in Sydney Doby, this year's squad was a bit of an uncertainty from the start and found itself cast in the role of under dogs. So, making it this far was an accomplishment in itself.
"I am so proud of how far they have come," Floyd said. "It was a bit of roller coaster ride through the season, but from the first practice to tonight the progress has been huge. The effort and the work they have put in has been tremendous. They have a lot to be proud of."
Keith Country Day (38-2) had 7 service errors in Game 1 and that allowed Harvest to stay close for a while. The Lions trailed just 13-12 midway through before Keith Country Day started to put it together and eventually pulled away with an 8-3 run at the end.
The momentum carried over as the Cougars dominated Game 2. Keith Country Day had a 27-14 kill advantage in the match. U-Conn bound Iman McGary led the way with 12 kills.
"I think we had some nerves that first game," said McGary. "We have a lot of young players on the team and the atmosphere was crazy. It just took some time to get comfortable. Once we did it was awesome."
Loyola recruit Alex Nunez added 6 kills and Zoe Nunez had 22 assists.
"We were still on the bus in the first game," Keith Country Day coach Steve Williams said. "But we started getting the right matchups and some good swings. The two seniors really wanted to do this for the younger players and give them a taste of what it's like."
For the Lions, senior libero Jade Martinez has a lot to look back on.
"It's frustrating not to be able to get further," Martinez said. "But at the same time I am very content with what we have accomplished the last four years. We worked so hard and won four sectional titles. That's a great thing to be able take with me."
Ellie Burzlaff will be one of four returning starters next year.
'We have grown a lot this year," said Burzlaff. "We are going to miss our seniors. Those are tough shoes to fill, but we have a lot to look forward to."
Mikayla Robinson led the Lions (23-15) with 6 kills. Hannah Murray had 12 assists. Shayna Manusa added a team-high 8 digs.