COLUMBIA — When the Battle volleyball team's starters gathered for their pregame huddle Tuesday night, it was for the last time this season.
The Spartans lost in straight sets 25-6, 25-12 to Helias Catholic High School in a Class 4, District 9 first round contest at Hickman High School.
Helias jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, and it never looked back in the set. The Crusader middle hitters racked up block after block to neutralize any threat of a Spartan spike. Helias' overpowering blocking persisted throughout the game. The Crusaders played to a comfortable 18-3 score and finished the first set 25-6.
The early stages of the second set were much tighter. After Helias took a 3-0 lead, Battle fought back and took its first lead of the game at 4-3. Rare hitting mistakes and missed digs gave the Spartans life, but the Crusaders jumped right back out to a 20-10 lead before finishing the set 25-12.
Despite the loss, Battle coach Ali Schupp said her team took another step in the right direction.
"As always, there were a lot of positives," Schupp said. "We had good communication, some good help when we needed it and some good double blocks."
Battle finished the season 1-25-1, but Schupp is optimistic for the future. With all 14 Spartan players due to return next season, she hopes to continue building the program. Schupp has already seen her players form a strong bond.
"They all love each other, and that's the basis of where we need to start," Schupp said. "We've only been together about eight weeks. I'm really looking forward to next season to keep doing what we're doing.
"I wouldn't want to be with anyone else."
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