The first set didn’t go as planned, but the fight wasn’t out of Carroll High just yet.
The Tigers had the lead early in the second set before No. 1 ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton took the lead right back. Carroll fought back, and crawled their way back within a point, trailing 7-6 early in the second set.
Re-establishing the lead would have not only built the confidence of Carroll back up, but also break the spirit of the Warriors.
Carroll set up their play, an attack where junior Ella Collison had a free swing at a ball, full powered.
However the power was a little too much as the ball landed less than two inches outside of the baseline.
That near miss seemed to liven up the Warriors as they went on a six-point run helping the Warriors propel themselves to an eventual second-set 25-12 win.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton kept the attack up as they won the third set, 25-9, completing the sweep on Monday night and ending Carroll’s season a match sooner than they wanted to.
Throughout Monday’s match there was one advantage that Sergeant Bluff-Luton had, that Carroll had no match for.
“In the game of volleyball the height advantage does make a difference,” Carroll head coach Kelli Schulz said. “We wanted, and practiced on getting, more touches at the net, but SB-L was just able to go over the top of our block all night long. That led our defense to scramble. It can be frustrating when that happens because then everyone is out of position.”
Schulz said the scrambling to stop the powerful kill attempts is something that can throw the whole gameplan out of system. That’s what Sergeant Bluff-Luton was able to do on Monday night with their too tall attacks on Carroll throughout the three sets.
Josie Ayala and Gabi Hammer both led Carroll with four kills each. Ella Collison and Kennedy Lein both had three kills each. Emma Perkins added two kills and Rylee Ludwig had one.
Ludwig finished with 13 assists to lead the Tigers. Laura Sweeney added three.
Sweeney led the way with six digs. Ludwig added five while Collison finished with four.
Overall, the Tigers captured 23 wins on the season.
For Carroll, they entered the season with a few more question marks than experience playing varsity level volleyball. That didn’t stop them from going undefeated in Raccoon River Conference play.
Despite the loss to the Warriors, the Tigers have plenty of positives about this season.
“We aren’t going to let this match define us,” Schulz said. “We knew State was within our grasp. Overall I’m just proud of this team, all the memories from this year. We really were a family. I want to think the seniors, Rylee Ludwig, Emma Perkins, Rachel White. All of them left their mark on this program.”
The 2019 season will be remembered as a season of goals accomplished.
“We entered the season with four girls that didn’t have much varsity experience,” Schulz said. “With each match you could see their confidence rising. Each victory from our home wins — which, shout out to our fans, we filled the gym up every match — this team had big goals at the beginning of the year, and we just fell a little short of State, but we accomplished every other one of our goals.”