Lady Rebels battle but fall to Rangers in 2A opener

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By Brian Bohne

CLASS 2A SECTIONAL

SOUTH SPENCER VS FOREST PARK

The South Spencer volleyball team was looking for Big Mo during their post-season matchup with Forest Park. No, not Moe who sports a chili-bowl hairdo and hangs out with Larry and Curly. Mo, as in momentum.

They couldn’t find him.

The Lady Rebels tried but never quite had Big Mo on their side as they dropped a 14-25, 16-25, 19-25 decision to the host Rangers in the Class 2A, Sectional 48 opener last Thursday night at Buechler Arena in Ferdinand.

South Spencer coach Emily Kaufman said the contest was similar to their battle with Forest Park on August 21. “We’ve struggled all year finishing points,” explained the Lady Rebel boss. “It was kind of the same thing against Forest Park in the regular season.” And when those rallies didn’t go in their favor, South Spencer found themselves playing catchup, especially in the first two sets.

In game one, the Lady Rebels trailed 6-2 early on and later watched the Rangers reel off eight points in a row as the deficit reached 18-8. Forest Park then sealed the opening set thanks to a pair of kills from Rayven Meyer and a South Spencer defensive miscue.

Game two also started slow for the Lady Rebels as they fell behind 10-3. South Spencer then made a bid for a comeback, cutting the deficit to 11-8, courtesy of a kill by Kendall Raaf, a tip by Ashley Will and a Forest Park hitting error.

The Rangers, however, never buckled as late kills by Meyer and Carly Schnell, along with a Rebel net violation sealed the game two victory for Forest Park.

While South Spencer struggled to gain momentum early on, Forest Park coach Tara LaGrange was glad to see Big Mo on her team’s side. “Those first two sets, we were able to keep momentum for the most part,” said the Lady Ranger coach. “We grabbed it and kept pushing. That was obviously key.”

So was the play of Meyer, who finished with 10 kills and proved to be a thorn in the Lady Rebels’ side. “She definitely was tough to stop,” said Kaufman. “We just couldn’t get a block up, but when she’s hitting it straight down, it’s hard to do.”

Despite Meyer’s productivity, South Spencer tried to make things interesting in game three when they jumped ahead 2-0 and later 5-2 to begin the set. Forest Park then answered to eventually grab an 11-9 advantage before the Lady Rebels knotted the score at 11 apiece when a Ranger kill attempt sailed out of bounds.

Forest Park, however, didn’t waver.

After the Lady Rebels forged the tie, the Rangers responded with four straight points — capped by a Meyer kill — and stayed in front the rest of the way. A kill by Forest Park freshman Avery Hill and some miscommunication by South Spencer following a Ranger serve sealed the finish. 

“I felt like if we could have ever gotten the lead late in that third game, things could have been different,” said Kaufman. “I think they could have pulled it out had we gotten some momentum. Still, I was proud of the girls for not giving up.”

That could be said for the entire season.

South Spencer finished with only a few wins, but they kept playing hard. And that never-say-die effort this season could pay off in the near future as the Lady Rebels’ younger players gained valuable experience.

“In addition to getting some experience on the varsity, a lot of our sophomores play on travel teams, so I think that’s going to help them next season,” concluded Kaufman. “I think we can be pretty good next year.”

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