Losing at home for the second time in barely under a decade can cause a team a lot of pain. Losing an All-American to an injury can make the pain even worse.
Columbia College felt the first pain after losing at home to Truman State 30-19, 30-20, 30-18. It might feel the second pain after senior outside hitter Jacqueline Makokha sprained her ankle early in the first game.
“The game was basically over when (Makokha) went down,” coach Melinda Wrye-Washington said. “We’re better than (Truman State).”
Makokha said she did not know if she would be able to play on the ankle in the team’s next match, which will take place at the Graceland University Invitational this weekend. With the No. 2 ranking nationally, Columbia College will be the top seed at the tournament despite Makokha’s injury.
The Cougars lost the senior outside hitter in the first game. Makokha dove into the net, watched her foot get pinned by an opposing player, and rolled her ankle. The injury kept her out of the remainder of the first game and the rest of the second game. By the time she returned for Game 3, Columbia College was too far behind to make a comeback.
“If she had gotten injured late in the match, when we had some momentum, we might have had a chance,” Wrye-Washington said.
Several Cougars pointed to the team’s poor passing as a big reason for the loss. They trailed by at least 10 in every game and held only one lead in the match.
“It messed up our passing rotations, so we passed terribly,” Wrye-Washington said. “They didn’t beat us. We beat ourselves.”
Columbia College put down few high-velocity kills but was often forced to try to lob an attack out of reach of the Truman players instead. The Bulldogs, however, were often able to hit the lobbed attacks on the way back down, allowing them to set up their offense and find the holes in the Cougar defense.
The Bulldogs finished with 67 digs in the match and had at least 20 in every game.
“They were disciplined and weren’t running around on the court,” senior setter Tracie Ford said. “They were getting every ball up.”
Makokha said her team played tentatively throughout the match, especially when serving. Columbia College had only one service ace and gave Truman State eight points on service errors.
“We gave up on ways we could have scored,” Makokha said. “We were worried.”