Comets too much for Mustangs
BCLUW sweeps as East Marshall dons pink for cancer awareness
LE GRAND — An emotional Thursday night for East Marshall volleyball didn’t end with a victory, but that was not the main focus of head coach Terri Westendorf’s postgame discussion with her team.
“I never saw them drop, they never gave up,” Westendorf said. “We know as a team that there are some things more important than a win, and sometimes it’s just being there for a teammate and in this case being there for Abby. That was our number one — honor Abby with our effort and our attitude, because we know she’d love to be out there playing with them.”
The Mustangs were swept by BCLUW 25-15, 25-12, 25-19 at home on Cancer Awareness Night, wearing pink jerseys and honoring senior teammate Abby Burchland as she fights against bone cancer. With emotions high and a loud student section ready to go, the Mustangs jumped out to a fast start — leading 9-4 in the first set and 10-5 shortly after a BCLUW timeout.
Over the rest of the set, BCLUW (11-12) outscored East Marshall (4-19) 20-5 and took the set 25-15.
Head coach of the Comets, Abby Stephenson, said she told the Comets to stay aggressive and keep playing their game. The result was a near-peak showing in the rest of the set and a dominant 25-12 victory in the second set.
“Eventually that stuff is going to fall and find the right place, it was just us trusting the process to get there,” Stephenson said. “To see the fight of us to get back to our groove and back to what we’re comfortable doing, that was fun to see.”
Mallori Jones led the Comets in kills with 10, and her efforts were supplemented by Grace Farnsworth and Virginia Kaisand. The duo had eight kills apiece. Kailan McEwen added five kills.
Conducting the offense was once again Sydney Anderson with 30 assists. The junior is the veteran of the team, and Stephenson said having her helped keep the rest of the team in check and in rhythm.
Devyn Crosser led East Marshall with six kills — followed by Lizzy Vesley with four. Faith Bandstra collected 16 assists.
The third set of Thursday’s game was easily the most competitive — East Marshall took the lead in a set for the first time since going up 10-5 in set one, taking an 8-7 lead briefly and pushing the Comets for much of the set.
Taking three match points to finally seal the win, the Comets sealed the win with a Jones kill. Westendorf was proud of the fight East Marshall showed, even if it came too late for the Mustangs to make a comeback.
“In game three we didn’t let them have the long runs,” Westendorf said. “Too little too late, but I’m proud of their energy and their effort.”
Up next for the Comets is the Columbus Catholic tournament on Saturday in Waterloo. East Marshall plays Tuesday in the first round of the NICL Conference Tournament, visiting Dike-New Hartford.