Thursday, September 6, 2018

Metamora Volleyball drops three-set match to Limestone

Metamora senior Reagan Begole serves during Thursday night's match against Limestone. The Redbirds lost in three sets.
Metamora, Ill. - The home opener for the 2018 season gave the Metamora Redbirds (2-6) (0-2) an opportunity to get back to the win column, going (0-3) since the tournament at Western Illinois University in late-August. Their opponent was a good one, the Limestone Rockets (6-2) (2-0). Limestone brought in new leadership with former Illinois Central College assistant coach Paloma Simundic, who had the Rockets off to a (5-0) start in her inaugural season.

The first set saw Metamora get off to a fast start, with a block from sophomore Kelsey Todd putting the Redbirds ahead, 5-1. 

Yet despite the good start, back came Limestone. The Rockets would take an 8-7 lead off a kill. Metamora responded well, going on a 4-0 run to force a Limestone timeout, with Metamora leading 11-8. 

A kill from Metamora senior Alivia West got things on more of a run again, and it got to the point where Coach Simundic had to call her final timeout of the set, after a Redbird block put the hosts up 23-15. 

Olivia Alread got a kill to make it set point, and the Redbirds capitalized. The first set went to Metamora, 25-18. 

It was a tale of two sets, as the Rockets roared out to a 10-3 lead, which forced Metamora coach Tara Ballard to call her first timeout of the set. 

The Redbirds weren't able to work their way back into the match, with Limestone getting to as big as a 19-9 lead. 

From that point, the visitors would go on a 6-5 run to send the match to a third set, 25-14.

Freshman Kayla Pacha was a key contributor in the third set for Metamora, and the match as a whole, really. Pacha was able to get a powerful swing to become a kill to put the Redbirds ahead, 9-6. That's right when Limestone doubled Metamora up, going on a 10-5 run to take a 16-14 lead. 

It was at that point that the match as a whole started to fall out of the grasp of the Redbirds, and sure enough, Limestone would take the third set and the match, 25-16. 

After the match, Coach Ballard said there seems to be a recurring issue throughout these recent losses.

"What's been happening is our passing fell apart. We did a much better job passing in the first set, then fell apart, and we just allowed them to go on some runs."

Another thing that Ballard said shows is the youth on the roster. 

"There's a lot of inexperience right now. We're not quite mentally tough enough yet. As we keep going on, we'll be able to push through some of those issues."

The 5th-year head coach added, as mentioned earlier, that Kayla Pacha performed well in tonight's match.

"She did a great job. She kept the ball in play. I was really proud of her."

That's not all. Ballard went on to say that there was one team positive that she liked.

"It looked like we were working together. We didn't look as good with that in the second and third set."

The team will have the weekend off before returning to Mid-Illini action at Dunlap on Tuesday, scheduled to start at 7:00 pm. 

Metamora Statistical Leaders:
Kills | Alivia West & Reagan Begole (8)
Assists | Maddie Case (17)
Blocks | Kelsey Todd (4)
Digs | Reagan Begole, Abby Sharp, & Holly Springer (8 each)
Aces | Abby Sharp (3)

Sophomore Match (Metamora Wins): 25-14, 24-16
Freshman Match (Metamora Wins): 25-15, 25-9

Next Match: Saturday, September 8th - All Day - Jacksonville Invitational (@ Illinois College)

Follow Alex Staab on Twitter (@StaabAlex)
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