If ever there was an encouraging loss, Monday night was just that for the Rock Bridge girls’ volleyball team.
“If you can be happy in a defeat, I’m okay with tonight’s loss, because we fought hard,” Bruins coach Vicki Reimler said. “I thought we played tough until the very end, and that’s what I’ve wanted to see.”
Senior Christine Weyler’s late heroics weren’t enough to overcome some early errors, as Eldon held on to beat the Bruins 25-22, 26-24. The Bruins dropped to 6-12-3 while the Mustangs improved to 4-10-1.
“I think we all came together, and it was just a really good experience for us,” senior Kadie Marler said. “We were talking out there, and we were like, ‘this is the best we’ve played together.’”
There were two keys to the Bruins’ performance.
The first was Weyler. With Rock Bridge trailing 21-15 in the second game, she helped jump-start the sluggish Bruins by serving six straight points to tie. The run included two aces and a fine defensive play by senior Taran Eckenrode and junior Ashley Stanfill. Eckenrode also had five assists in the game.
“I haven’t gotten to play as much as I wanted to the past couple weeks,” Weyler said. “Being able to go back in there, coach letting me serve, kind of gave me the confidence, you know, ‘I can do it.’
“When you get up there and you get on a roll, I just get going.”
Errors were also critical, an area that the Bruins have struggled with all season. During the run in the second game, the Bruins played error-free and took advantage of four Eldon errors. With the score tied, a Bruins’ hitting error snapped the run, and another hitting error helped the Mustangs win.
“I told the girls starting the second game, ‘Rock Bridge is going to play better,’” Eldon coach Todd Shockley said. “I mean they gave us probably five or six points on hitting errors that they hit out of bounds, and I just knew that their timing was a little off.”
Things started slowly for the Bruins in the second game. Eldon senior Jordan Drake started with two aces, and Eldon built a 20-12 lead after junior Sarah Cox’s kill. The Bruins didn’t go away, getting two kills from senior Ashley Schulte to set the stage for Weyler.
“She’s an awesome server,” Marler said. “She can just get back there, and it looks so easy. She makes it look so easy. And not many people can do that.”
Hitting errors cost Rock Bridge Game 1. The Mustangs built a 9-6 lead thanks to some sloppy play by the Bruins, who committed three consecutive hitting errors during one stretch. Then, with Rock Bridge protecting a 22-20 lead, four more errors allowed the Mustangs to win the game.