The theoretical fine line between victory and defeat on the volleyball court took on an all-too-literal meaning Tuesday night for the Hickman Kewpies.
That line was the backline on the court at the Hickman High School gym.
The Kewpies lost to Helias 25-21, 24-26, 25-17 Tuesday. The Kewpies are 6-6.
Trailing 13-10 in the third game, Helias scored nine straight points to pull away from the Kewpies. Several of the points were on balls that dropped close to the line and were ruled in Helias’ favor.
Hickman coach Greg Gunn said that although he didn’t fault the line judges, he was frustrated by the calls.
“They didn’t help. It’s tough to get momentum when something like that works against you,” he said. “One call is not so bad but when you get three or four in a short succession, that’s really tough.”
Senior Heather Grice said she can’t blame the close calls because if her team had made fewer errors, the calls wouldn’t have mattered.
“We stopped communicating and we weren’t really playing as a team,” she said. “We couldn’t put away our hits.”
Grice said she tries to brush off the calls and just keep playing.
“I try to be as positive as I can,” she said. “Sometimes my teammates can get down on themselves, and I try to bring them up and help them regain focus.”
Grice said her team was not playing as consistently as it usually does.
After taking a 9-8 lead in the first game, Helias scored nine of the next 12 points and take a commanding lead. In the second game, after opening up leads of 16-11 and 20-17, Hickman allowed a Crusader comeback but held on for a 26-24 win.
Down 24-12 in the third game, Hickman scored five straight points.
“We were finally getting in the groove at the end, but it was too late,” Grice said.
Junior Jessie Kemble said the close loss with controversial calls was more frustrating than the blowout the team suffered Thursday to Kansas state champion Bishop Miege.
“I really think we could have won this game,” she said.
“It’s more frustrating than a game like last week because last week we felt like we played our best and learned a lot.”