Basehor-Linwood achieves goal at sub-state
The Basehor-Linwood volleyball team ended its season with a second round loss to Lansing at sub-state on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Funny thing was, however, in doing so the Bobcats achieved their season-long goal.
That's because all season BLHS players and coaches talked about how badly they wanted to get past the first round at sub-state and that season-ending loss to Lansing came in the second round.
"It's sad because you never want to lose," senior Jamie Cochran said. "But I think we went out with a bang."
That they did.
With a regular season record of 16-21, the Bobcats drew the fourth-seed and a date with fifth-seeded Mill Valley in the first round.
In the early going, it appeared as if the Bobcats might again fall short of reaching their goal. Mill Valley's hard-hitting team came out swinging and before the Bobcats could blink the Jaguars were beating them 4-0. Then something clicked.
"(Senior Laura) Steeby got us started," BLHS coach Mardy Robinson said. "Laura's timing today was just outstanding and she gave us a lift with her steady play. That allowed us to calm down and get back into it."
But the Bobcats did more than get back into it. With junior Cristin Burnett serving, BLHS quickly cut into the lead, shaving the margin to one, and then dominated the rest of the way.
"When we jumped out to that lead I was confident, but then they got it to 4-3 and I could really see us get hesitant," Mill Valley coach David Beach said.
Behind the strong play of every Bobcat that stepped on the floor, BLHS reeled off 15 straight points to take game one, 15-4.
"Jamie Cochran's serves were on, Briana (Barron) and Kelleigh (Gorup) communicated better than they had all year and Christina (McCarty) and Lindsay (Cunnigham) were killing the ball," Robinson said. "That was by far the best we've played as a team all season long."
Over the course of the season, the Bobcats got used to seeing McCarty and Cunningham slam down spikes, but Saturday they dished out something they usually get very few of blocks, a lot of them.
Sophomore Katie Burchfield led the way as she recorded six blocks in the first match, and Steeby, Burnett, McCarty and Cochran all recorded at least one other key block to preserve the two-game sweep.
"Blocks are just like turnovers in football," Robinson said. "If we block them (the opponent) whether its for a point or a sideout that gives us confidence and sets a seed of doubt in their minds. I think that was a big part of that first match."
Game two of the match was a lot closer than game one, but for the most part the Bobcats were in control the entire way.
BLHS jumped out to a big lead, 7-1, behind more strong serving from Cochran. Mill Valley cut the Basehor-Linwood lead to 12-11 at one point, but the Jags never really threatened. With the lead down to one point, the Bobcats responded with two big kills one from Burchfield and one from Cunningham to push the score to 14-11 and keep Mill Valley at bay. From there the Bobcats finished things off and exploded with joy.
"That first match was awesome," McCarty said. "That's been our goal all year to get past the first round and it felt great to do it."
After nearly an hour off because of the length of the other first round match, the Bobcats faced the heavily favored Lansing Lions in the semi-finals. The Lions had lost just one match all season long, and they made quick work of the Bobcats in game one.
"I think if we could've played right away after our win in the first round, that might have helped," Cochran said. "Because then we would've been warm and still fired up."
Instead, the Bobcats were quickly brushed aside in the first game as Robinson's squad again fell behind 4-0. The 'Cats did manage to crack the scoreboard early, this time with another of the unexpected a block, this one from Burnett. The junior's block cut the lead to 4-1, but that was all the scoring the Bobcats would do in game one as Lansing won 15-1.
In the second, Lansing got up 11-0 before BLHS could score. And, like the in the first game the Bobcats managed to score very little as they recorded just two points in the 15-2 loss.
For the five seniors on the squad the loss to Lansing marked the final time they would wear the BLHS jersey.
After the match a few tears were shed, a few hugs were given and a few frowns were seen. But as they left the Lansing gym, the seniors as well as the rest of their team realized that they had accomplished what they set out to do and then the smiles lit up the parking lot.
"I was really happy with today," Cochran said. "We played our hearts out and we got past the first round."