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MTZ volleyball loses in regionals to Rochester

Alexis Smith makes a set on the ball in a 2-0 match loss against Rochester at Rochester.

Staff Writer

The Mt. Zion volleyball team’s season ended last week. The Braves lost a 2-0 match to Rochester in IHSA 3A Regional Semifinals.

In the first set, the Braves responded early. Bracie Barnes put the Braves on the board to tie the set at 1-1 with a kill. The Braves took the lead when McKenna Crawford scored an ace to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.

The Braves took their largest lead when Alexis Smith scored off an attack and there was a Rockets’ failed return to give the Braves a 6-4 lead.

The Rockets went on a 7-0 run and ended up winning the set 25-14 and then won the second set 25-15.

“We made a lot of errors,” Head coach Traci Dyer-Townsend. “That’s how I feel. I just don’t feel like we had very much grit. We came out awesome. But it’s like, we can’t keep chipping away at the rock. Like we lose our air quickly. So we don’t have a lot of perseverance when teams challenge us.”

The Braves finished their season with a 14-19 overall record and a 4-8 Apollo Conference record.

“I think we had really great leadership from our seniors,” Coach Dyer-Townsend said. “They all bring different personalities, the team, which makes it fun, they really did a great job of bringing in younger kids and helping teach them like our style of volleyball. And we use that a lot here and then have but I feel like we were just really up and down. We could never really find that consistency.”

The Braves will lose seniors Smith, Crawford, Smith, Kallianna Becker and Isabelle Holmes due to graduation.

I thanked them for just being great leaders,” Coach Dyer-Townsend said. “And that they were able to create a family-like culture on our team, which is fun. One of our seniors said that she’s never been closer to a team in her four years so I think that’s a good testament to like them being able to really draw people in and not make it about themselves and make it more about the team. So that was awesome.”

The Braves will return starters Denver Anderson and Maddie Kendall as well as varsity members Ella Fink, Maddie Doolin, Madi Moore, Tayetum Flanigan and Chloe Kuncl.

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