ORRICK – Two Bearcats seniors helped close the sets of Orrick’s Senior Night sweep of Chilhowee on Monday.
After jumping out to a 7-1 lead, the Bearcats held off a late Chilhowee surge to take the first set of the best-of-three non-conference match 25-23, with Mara Inks serving on the final point. Inks called it a “bittersweet” moment.
“It was very nerve-racking because it was game point,” she said. “But it was also nice that … it was one of the last serves I’ll ever have on this court.”
Abby Nail served on the last four points of the second set to help the Bearcats pull away 25-10.
“It was good knowing I could get it over,” Nail said.
Inks served at the end of the first set and Nail served at the end of the second set, which worked out well, Orrick varsity volleyball coach Emily Brownsberger said.
“They just needed that tonight,” Brownsberger said.
The contributions by Inks, Nail and their teammates helped Orrick end an 18-match losing streak and finish the regular season 3-20.
“Our record’s better than last year,” Brownsberger said. “Not too much better, but (at) least a little bit better than last year. … (The) goal was to try to improve things from last year.”
The Bearcats were 2-21-1 in 2018. Their two wins came at the end of the regular season against Calhoun and Chilhowee.
Like 2018, the Bearcats open their postseason against St. Joseph Christian. The Class 1 District 15 Tournament meeting is slated for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at Bishop LeBlond High School in St. Joseph, with the winner to play the winner of that night’s match between West Platte and the Union Star/King City co-op in the semifinals at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 30 at LeBlond.
“We’re playing a pretty tough team,” Brownsberger said.
Inks hopes the sixth-seeded Bearcats will give everything they have against the third-seeded Lions team, which enters the single-elimination tournament with a seven-match winning streak. Nail expressed a sense of optimism about what might be her final volleyball match as a Bearcat.
“(With us) just going out and playing together and just having the teammates that I’ve had since (the) second grade by my side, I think that everything will be OK,” she said.
Before the varsity volleyballers played their final home match this season, Orrick’s junior varsity squad played. After dropping the first set 25-13, the j.v. Bearcats won the next two sets, 25-23 and 15-7.