Bessie Gordon said Bear River’s 3-2 (25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 25-27, 15-3) home loss to Colfax on Wednesday should send a message to potential playoff opponents.
That message has little to do with the fact that the Bruins volleyball team (12-9 overall, 8-4 Pioneer Valley League) lost to end the regular season.
It’s what the Bruins accomplished on the way. After Bear River lost its first five matches of the 2006 season and started 4-3 in the PVL, the Bruins won four of their last five to post an 8-4 league mark.
And in the finale, the Bruins nearly beat the rival Falcons (17-9 overall, 10-1 PVL).
“We’re back,” said Gordon, coach of Bear River. “We’ll be around for a little while.”
The Falcons needed a fifth game to beat the Bruins for the second time this season. On Oct. 9 at Colfax, the Falcons won 3-1.
In game four of Wednesday’s return match, Bear River survived a Colfax rally that brought the Falcons from a 15-5 deficit to a one-point lead at 25-24. To end the game, Bruins middle hitter Hannah Morehouse nailed a kill, the Falcons committed an error, and Bethany Arnold served an ace.
But to start game five, Colfax surged to a 10-0 lead before another error gave Bear River its first point.
Becca Pugh, who carried the Falcons the entire match, had nine kills just in the fifth game. She hit four-straight to end the match.
“We played with heart,” Pugh said of the final game. “My teammates, they stepped it up with me. We wanted it so bad, and it showed.”
Pugh finished with a match-high 24 kills.
Lauren Juric led the Bruins with 12 kills and four blocks.
Juric was one of six seniors honored before the match on senior night.
Arnold, Elsie Bisnett, Diana Paasch, Katie Zilch and Hayley Loehr are Juric’s five classmates who likely ended their volleyball-playing days inside of Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium Wednesday.
Unless the Division-IV Bruins are seeded eighth or higher for the playoffs, they will play all of their matches on the road.
The power ratings, which decide the 16 teams from each division to advance to the playoffs, are scheduled to be released today.
“We let them have service,” Loehr said of Bruins’ decision to play game five on their preferred side of the court rather than serve. “That was probably a big mistake.”
But Loehr still said her final home match made a memorable send-off.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” Loehr said. “Every single player played with all their heart.”
Unless Bear River is not among the top 16 teams in today’s power ratings, the Bruins’ next match will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4247.
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