Sept. 1, 2021 — Mapleton’s volleyball team has had an action-packed week, playing a doubleheader at home against C.S. Lewis Academy and Pacific on Thursday, Aug. 26, and a tournament at C.S. Lewis this past Saturday, Aug. 26.
“We won our first game, so that’s a great way to start it off!” said senior Brier Shird, who plays outside hitter for the Lady Sailors.
Senior libero Summer Flansberg said, “The rest of them have been really close, so I think we’re going to have a good season this year!”
The girls are definitely having fun so far, celebrating their first win while taking their first loss in stride with positive attitudes. Coach Molly Dooley discussed her reactions after both games.
“The first one we came out and played really hard,” Dooley said. “Morgan [Milbrett], one of our freshmen setters who is also our lead-off server, had three aces in a row with five aces total in that first set, which was pretty darn awesome.”
It was serving that carried the Lady Sailors through, proving the importance of those fundamental skills Dooley has been working on strengthening with her girls in practice.
“We had some really strong serving in that first set, and actually, throughout the entire game we had some really strong serving, which makes me very happy!” she said.
The first two sets, went very much in Mapleton’s favor, winning them 25-11 and 25-12.
“The third set, we lost a little bit of steam, so that one we lost 21 to 25, which was still a pretty tight score,” said the coach. “Their fourth set was really a hard-fought one. We lost that one 26 to 28, and it was back and forth the entire time. Then, we pulled through all the tiredness and everything, and took the fifth set 15 to 6. So, that was pretty great.”
Notable stats from the game include Milbrett, who had eight aces, Summer Flansberg with five aces and three kills and senior Opal Burruss with six aces and five kills.
Their second game of the doubleheader was against Pacific, and according to Dooley, “We lost in a hard-fought four.”
Despite the loss, Dooley saw it as an opportunity for her girls to gain more experience before their first league games this season.
“Pacific was hitting it down a lot more, so we were getting a lot more action at the net, which was pretty exciting to see,” she said.
Standouts for the Pacific game were senior Micayla Flansberg, who had four aces and one kill, and Milbrett with had three aces and three kills.
The Lady Sailors’ spirits weren’t broken in the slightest at the loss, with the girls’ only disappointment being the lack of an opportunity for a rematch, as they won’t compete against Pacific again this season.
“The girls so wanted to play Pacific again!” said Dooley. “On the bus they kept going, ‘We're playing Pacific again, right?’”
What pleased Dooley the most was the grit her team showed throughout the night. Their effort made the experience as a whole both positive and educational.
“I think they played really hard,” Dooley said. “With any doubleheader, it's great experience, but it also can be really tiring, especially when your first game goes to five sets. I think they brought a really good energy to it. They were communicating and doing just as they do in practice, which, again, is awesome. It was a great first night!”
After Thursday’s games, Dooley and her girls were all eager to play in their tournament at C.S. Lewis Academy, where they would get an opportunity for a rematch with CSLA’s Watchmen.
“I'm excited to have fun today!” said the coach after their first match.
On Saturday, the girls competed against CSLA, Southwest Christian Academy (SWC) and Mitchell/Spray/Fossil (MSF) in a round robin tournament. Each match was played best out of three, with six matches total.
Mapleton played SWC first, losing in two sets 12-25 and 19-25. Although SWC came out on top, the girls played a great match and had two aces from Shird and two from Milbrett. Summer Flansberg and Opal Burruss had great games as well, Flansberg holding down the back row and Burruss hitting strong early on in the season.
The girls were in great spirits in spite of falling to SWC and went into their next match against CSLA ready to win, which they did. The girls took it this time in two sets themselves, defeating the Watchmen 25-15 and 26-24.
In set one, they took the win with kills from Shird as well as Lexi Flansberg, a freshman and younger sister to both Micayla Flansberg, an outside hitter, and sophomore Tanae Robbins, who plays rightside hitter. Robbins had an ace in the game, as did Milbrett.
Robbins went on a serving streak in set two with four straight serves in a row, two of which were aces. Milbrett and Shird also had aces, and Burruss and Jahala Blake were very aggressive at the net. The second set was a close finish, but the Lady Sailors weren’t going to let it go to three.
Their final game of the day was against the MSF co-op team, which they lost in two sets 15-25 and 13-25. MSF’s team was very strong at the net and with serving, which caused a lot of errors on Mapleton’s side.
In the end, the girls had great attitudes and they are buzzing about getting their season off to a great start. They played Eddyville Charter at home on Tuesday, Aug. 31, after printing deadlines, and their game at McKenzie scheduled for Sept. 2 was cancelled. Their next game is on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at home against Alsea at 6 p.m.