Brendan Yu
Curry Coastal Pilot

It was a sentimental night for the Brookings-Harbor volleyball team, as Tuesday night’s game against South Umpqua marked the final home games for seniors Malia Leddy, Hannah Humphrey, Barrieanna Fallert, Tisha Bailey and Olivia Runge.

Unfortunately, the emotion of playing in their final home game was not enough to propel the Bruins (0-14 overall, 0-8 Far West League) to a win over the Lancers (9-6, 7-2), as the Bruins were once again swept (25-10, 25-7, 25-18) following a slow start.

“I think actually we had a better start this go around than we have for our past home games,” said head coach Emilie Preiser. “But honestly I think it’s still that mental aspect, the pressure of senior night and last home game that kind of got to them more than anything else. They fought, they really did; I don’t think the score really indicated how we played the first set. (It) definitely indicated how we played the second set and they came out with a little more intensity and a little more fire in the third.

As per usual, the Bruins looked promising in their opening points, where they went up 2-1 courtesy of a an ace by Mayce McCollum and a kill, but things went quickly awry after as the Lancers strung together six unanswered points to take the lead for good. The Bruins took turns siding out with the Lancers over the next eight points to keep the deficit to five at 11-6, but the Lancers pulled away on a 12-2 run to lead 23-8. The Bruins managed to score twice more, off a Lancer service error and double block by Humphrey and Fallert before succumbing in the first set.

In the second set, the Bruins had an even slower start than they did in the first as junior Sydnie Johnson took to the service line and put the Lancers up 14-0, with nine of those points coming from aces, before finally siding out on a service error. The Bruins managed to muster some form of a response with kills by Leddy and Bailey (who also had a block) and a service ace by Brooke Hodges, but the 14 point deficit proved too big to overcome.

Moving on to the third set, the Bruins finally came out of the gates running as they jumped out to a 7-4 lead thanks to kills by Leddy, Humphrey and Fallert. The Lancers closed the gap at 8-8 and traded points with the Bruins. Bailey kept the Bruins ahead at 11-10 with a service ace, but that was the last time the Bruins lead in the game as South Umpqua won 10 of the next 11 points to take a 20-12 lead. Although the Bruins managed a late surge where they won 6 of the game’s final 11 points, the push came too late to salvage the set.

“If there was one fundamental skill that killed us, it was gonna be serve receive. Serve receive did hurt us the first set and definitely (in the) second set,” Preiser said. “There was no way we (could) come back from that, but it was better in the third set. We’ve seen that, come the third set, we’re ready to play, if we can go into every match it being third set already, warmed up and ready to go, then I think we’d have a winning program.

“Mentally we’re just not at that point, and I don’t know how to get us there. Fundamentally and skill wise, it’s just tapping into it early and not waiting until the last minute.”

Despite the lost, Preiser noted that the focus of the night was more about the seniors and giving them a proper send-off in their last game at home.

“Honestly I wasn’t too worried about the score tonight. It was more about the seniors getting their last time to play in their gym, getting as many reps as they could and I think we accomplished that,” Preiser said. “I think overall it was a good game. No, we didn’t win, but you know, I think for them, just playing well, and for some seniors, just getting to play, was more important.”

Following the game, the seniors on the team shared their thoughts on playing in their final home game:

Malia Leddy: “I’ve been in so many different sports in so many years, and I’ve seen so many seniors graduate (but) I never thought (about) how I (was) going to feel when I’m in their position. I’m so sad that I’m done with volleyball right now, but all it means is that we’re moving on to bigger and better things and it just makes me excited. I know I have my whole future ahead of me, and this is something I can look back on and always remember the good times, the bus rides, the practices and all the hard work. No matter win or lose, we had fun.”

Tisha Bailey: “I feel nostalgic, it’s mixed emotions. I love these girls, we’ve been playing since we were in middle school and it doesn’t seem like it’s our last year. It’s crazy.”

Hannah Humphrey: “I’m emotional about it; volleyball’s my favorite sport, so knowing that it’s my last home game, it’s emotional, but I’m really excited to seewhat everyones’ future holds for them and stuff, and all the memories are fantastic.”

Olivia Runge: “I think it’s just crazy, it doesn’t seem real that we’re all seniors and this is our last game. It’s just crazy. That game was hot.”

Barrienne Fallert: “I’m sad.”