Volleyball: Annawan def. LaMoille-Ohio 25-11, 25-14
OHIO — After a hard-fought three-set win over Hinckley-Big Rock last week, the LaMoille-Ohio Lady Lions were hoping to carry the momentum of that victory into the Ohio gym on Monday night for more success.
Unfortunately for the Lady Lions (1-5, 1-0), they were visited by the Annawan Bravettes, a team coming off their first 1A regional championship in eight years.
Even worse for the LaMoille-Ohio, with a lot of fresh faces in the varsity roster, Annawan returned their entire starting lineup from last year’s 22-11-3 club.
The Lady Lions put up the best fight they could, but the experience and speed of the Bravettes allowed them to prevail in two sets, 25-11, 25-14.
“That was a hard one,” L-O coach Nicole Cromwell said. “We really beat ourselves. I’m not saying they (Annawan) aren’t a good team, because they certainly are.
“We were having a hard time keeping our serves in, and we’re not getting passes. Those two things will give us a hard time in beating anyone else.”
Annawan went right to work in the first set, jumping out to a 6-0 lead on the serve of junior Courtney Baele, then adding several mini-runs to keep the Lady Lions out of reach.
“The first game came down to confidence,” Cromwell said. “I don’t know if we were intimidated by their height, or we thought we couldn’t play with them, which is totally not the case.
“So we talked about that before we started the second game, and we were on a much better path the second time around.”
Indeed, although the Bravettes jumped out to another early lead, it was only three points in before the Lady Lions, with senior Emma Lundquist at serve, went on a 5-0 run of their own to take an 8-7 advantage, their first lead of the evening.
The lead traded back and forth over several volleys until Baele was back at serve for Annawan to lead a six-point run to put the Bravettes ahead 20-14.
Madison Funderberg was able to get one more serve in for the Lady Lions, then Bravettes junior Emily Miller was at the helm when her team hit the four points needed to put the second set away.
Emma Lundquist was the points leader for the Lady Lions with five, while Ki’Ayana Moore led in blocks with three.
LaMoille-Ohio will next play on Thursday evening, hosting conference rival and defending 1A state champions Newark in the LaMoille High School gym.
“We’ll spend the next two practices really focusing on defense,” Cromwell said. “They’ve (Newark) got some really heavy hitters.”