The Sanford-Fritch Lady Eagles found themselves in unfamiliar territory on Tuesday night. They were playing in a regional quarterfinal. They also found themselves up against a familiar foe. The Bushland Lady Falcons won the district that Fritch is also a part of, and they have also earned a #3 ranking in the state. The Lady Eagles knew it would be a tough task to fend off the Lady Falcons. Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, state ranked Bushland would take the quarterfinal in straight sets: 25-15, 25-10, and 25-12.
The first set started out very evenly. The score was tied at two early. After some great hustle by the Lady Eagles in which Christa White dug the ball out of the net, Fritch found themselves up 3-2. Keely Wilson served up an ace to make it 4-2 Lady Eagles. J'Lee Judd has a great defensive dig and Bushland hits it out to tie the set at 5. Blakely Meek kills it for Fritch to keep the Lady Eagles within two, but they quickly fall behind by four. Courtney Ingersoll has a nice block at the net (something she does well) for Fritch, but they were still behind 11-7. Bushland then started to pull away, going up by 11 despite a kill from White and Meek and a block from Mikala Setliff. Lady Falcons take set one, 25-15 although the Lady Eagles played them close for half the set.
Set two started out with a 4-0 lead from Bushland. After a few errors on Bushland, the Lady Eagles were just down by a point. The Lady Falcons' Kaitlyn Bauer just could not be stopped, as she had kill after kill. Meek added a kill for the Lady Eagles, and they had great hustle from Bailee King, Judd, White, Krissi Burgin, and Setliff who took part in some long volleys. They never could fight their way back into this one, though, and they lost set two 25-10.
Set three was a must-win for Fritch. They again kept it close in the early going, tying it at 6 with an Ingersoll kill leading the way. Bushland went on a 9-1 run, and continued to score on some Lady Eagle errors. Tomi Ann Salas and King both had some great digs on defense, despite being down by 10. The Lady Eagles fought, but Bushland was just too much for them. They lost set three and the match, 25-12.
The Sanford Fritch Lady Eagles had a great season under first year head coach, Brittany Snider. She took them from a losing season into the regional quarterfinals, further than any other county team this year. They should be proud and excited for the years to come, because they are only losing one senior from this squad. Tomi Ann Salas, the libero, is the lone senior this year. They play in a tough district, but they have talent and experience that will serve them well in the future.
Congrats on a great season, Lady Eagles!