RED OAK — Clarke’s loss last Wednesday certainly wasn’t the end to the season the Indians had hoped for.
Coach Molly Jackson and her experienced bunch that included eight seniors wanted to show Class 3A 10th-ranked Red Oak what they were capable of on the volleyball court, but fell short in a three-set loss 25-7, 25-6, 25-9.
“It’s bittersweet because Red Oak didn’t see how our girls can perform,” coach Molly Jackson said. They didn’t see how we can play. That’s the bitter part of it because these girls put in so much heart and time and effort.”
The loss brought to an end a 9-16 season, a year removed from a 4-win campaign.
Ashlynn Oehlert stayed busy in the back row and had eight digs.
Chynna Beydler had two kills and four digs in her final match.
Clarke struggled to get on the offensive, and forced few side outs throughout the evening.
The Indians’ 17 of 21 serving night was better than recent matches, but the Indians will look to continue to improve in that aspect on their jump serves moving forward.
Red Oak combined for 35 team kills, led by Chloe Johnson, who leaped out of the gym on her way to 11 kills.
Clarke’s issues with serve receive meant sending free balls over the net, which allowed the Tigers to play aggressively on the attack.
“We drill serve receive over and over but that still seems to be our biggest struggle,” Jackson said.
Red Oak setters Hannah Vial and Ellie Rengstorf repeatedly put up pinpoint sets, combining for 31 assists in the three-set match.
Deseree Stubbe ended the evening with 46 total blocks on the season for the Indians, which as of Tuesday was fourth among South Central Conference players.
Oehlert’s 4.5 digs per set (324 total was fourth in the SCC) were tops in the conference.
Beydler’s 274 digs were fourth in the SCC as of Tuesday.
The Indians lose seniors Chynna Beydler, Savannah Gilbert, Hayley Gilbert, Sidney Marker, Shalee Patel, Taylor Miler, Hannah Moore and Sydney Sickels.
“These seniors have been honest with me,” Jackson said. “I’ll pull them aside and they’ll straight up tell me, ‘this isn’t working, or I’m frustrated with this. Or we’re not meshing this way or something isn’t working.’”
The Indians head into the offseason knowing that to improve on some things could mean even longer steps forward in 2018.