It went five games, and it was wild! Anna outlasted Loramie to win Tuesday, redeeming an earlier loss with not a tiny bit of satisfaction!
Anna – Loramie coach John Rodgers said it was an excruciating way to lose a volleyball match.
Anna coach, Kelly Zumberger, said it was a thrilling way to win a volleyball match.
Such as it was – 25-12 (A), 25-21 (A), 25-20 (L), 25-17 (L), and 15-12 (A) – the Anna Rockets hung on to outlast Shelby County League rival Ft. Loramie in five games on Tuesday to even their record at 7-7 and gain a measure of redemption for an earlier loss to Loramie back on August 25, a match that the Redskins won…in five!
Back and forth, the ebb and flow of the match was captivating one moment, abject frustration the next. Loramie (9-5) came into the match on a streak of winning seven of the last eight, and of course, looking to land the knockout punch on the Rockets.
“We really have no one to blame but ourselves,” said Rodgers. “The effort at the end of the match was great. But the beginning of the match left a lot to be desired. Of course, Anna always wants to be Loramie in the worst way possible and you have to come out and match their effort and intensity from the beginning. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Loramie’s leader, Caleigh Barhorst, had her customary game (19 kills). And she had plenty of help. Sara Stang and Maeve Hilgefort added 11 and 12, respectively. And Sophia Albers contributed 43 assists!
But Anna nearly matched the Redskins statistically, and clearly won the tug-o-war in consistency of effort and enthusiasm. Kelly Zumberger is a “floor stomper”, high emotion, and championed the effort of her team continually for kills, digs, and just plain ol’ hustle.
“I’m my team’s biggest cheerleader,” she said afterwards. “I’ll admit it.”
But she had reason to be. Krista Gehret, Ashley Landis and Kennedy Glover combined for 36 kills of their own. Lexi Wells chipped in 32 assists. And junior libero Carly Becker spent most of her night on her knees and elbows keeping the ball of the floor from would-be points from Barhorst, Stang, and Hilgefort.
“Krista had a big night hitting for us,” added Zumberger. “And Carly Becker had a great night digging out points from Caleigh Barhorst. I’m very proud of their effort.”
And it was, in that one word, an effort win. Missing, in John Rodgers’ words, at the outset for Loramie, and simply not enough time for the catch up at the end.
“I’m not a big stats guy,” he added afterwards. “But there are some games when the stats simply don’t tell the story. Tonight was one of them. They were up, they’re well-coached, and we couldn’t overcome our start.”
“This was a huge win for us,” admitted Zumberger. “We had lost three in a row and really needed this. This evens our season and hopefully puts us on the right track again. And of course, it is nice to beat Loramie after losing to them like we did to open the season.”
Tied at two games apiece, the fifth and deciding game was compelling to the point of every point, Anna or Loramie, drawing a raucous reaction. Those that didn’t cheer bit their nails, or just sat transfixed, hardly daring to breathe. Anna jumped out to the early lead (9-5) only to see Loramie come back to tie it at 11-11.
But a flurry at the end, a couple of mishit balls, and yes, some luck, was enough for Anna to survive the Redskins’ comeback attempt, 15-12.
Ft. Loramie, ranked 8th in Division IV in a recent poll, is hardened to good competition and will look to regroup against Botkins at home on Thursday. Good teams move on. They won the Division IV title in 2014.
“No one plays a tougher schedule out of conference than what we’ve played,” said Rodgers before Tuesday’s game, referring to early games against Ottawa-Glandorf and Liberty Benton. “They’re the real deal.”
But for braggin’ rights, Anna, improving to .500, proved again Tuesday that there’s no place like home. Take nothing for granted in the SCL. With a chance to even the score against Loramie, the Rockets proved that they, too, can be the real deal.
And until basketball season…they got the last word!