Mustangs swept on Senior Night
LE GRAND — This season has been difficult for coach Terri Westendorf and the East Marshall Mustangs. The Mustangs have suffered through injuries and illness that have thrown their lineups askew and the team went into Tuesday night’s final home game of the season against Hudson with an 11-21 record.
Westendorf said the team has been impressive in spurts but hasn’t been able to maintain consistent play.
“We’ve gone through a series of injuries and illness,” Westendorf said. “It’s trying to keep that consistency of your lineup and keep it going.
“It was just getting those last five points and keeping the ball in. We know that we can hit better than that. We saw it, there were glimpses and there were moments that we were hitting really, really well and we just got to keep that consistency up and we’ll start winning games like that.”
Hudson swept the Mustangs 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-12) and moved to 12-22 on the season, while East Marshall dropped to 11-22 with the defeat. It was the third time the Mustangs played Hudson this season — the Pirates have won all three times.
Early on the Mustangs pushed Hudson into some mistakes and took a slim lead, but just over midway through the set the Pirates took the lead. The Pirates closed the set after allowing East Marshall to score four straight points and get back into the game.
Set two followed in a slightly different pattern, as the Mustangs built a 14-9 lead and forced a timeout from the Pirates. But, much like Westendorf said, the Mustangs could not sustain the positive momentum. Hudson used a late run to pull ahead and take the second set with the same 25-20 score.
Everything positive in East Marshall’s offense went through setter Faith Bandstra — she assisted on 16 of the Mustangs’ 17 kills. Eight of those kills came from senior Kennedy Wheater to lead the team, with seniors Kennedy Boliver and Jayleigh Pansegrau recording three each.
Set three started out poorly for the Mustangs and only got worse — going down 15-7 and not getting any closer for the rest of the match.
Defensively, libero Camy Weeks was the leader with 15 digs for the Mustangs. Pansegrau was second with eight digs, while Jane Collum, Bandstra and Wheater had five each.
This season has provided a lot of teaching moments for the Mustangs, Westendorf said.
“We’ve got some girls that are right now playing back row, they were playing front row,” Westendorf said. “It has been a year of flux, they’re just going back and forth. We have a lot of girls that don’t play both sides of the court, they either play front row or back row. So it’s challenging [for] them to have to learn this new skill at this level.”
Up next for East Marshall is a Thursday night trip to GMG in the team’s final regular season game.