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Down 2-0, Spartans rally to level Lions
The Bainbridge Spartans won the Metro League Mountain Division volleyball title Wednesday in a remarkable and rowdy rise from a two-game hole against Lakeside.
It was the first time the team has won the division outright; the Spartans tied Blanchet at the top back in 2004.
“It’s awesome. We worked so hard for it,” said Hannah Wagner.
“We knew that we could definitely beat this team if we played to our full potential — just keep ourselves focused, take care of the ball, make every play matter,” added Tess Haskin.
Bainbridge prevailed 3-2; 11-25, 21-25, 25-18, 25-20 and 15-7.
Haskin said taking care of the ball on the Spartans’ side of the court — and concentrating on the things that the team does well — were key.
Even so, it was a five-game gauntlet for the Spartans.
Lakeside jumped to a 6-0 start in the first game. But after the Spartans scored their first point, the Lions reeled off another seven points to amass a 13-2 advantage.
Bainbridge could pull no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
In the second game, Lakeside again took control at the start and ran the score to 6-2.
The Spartans made the contest competitive by trudging to a 14-14 tie, and BHS claimed its first lead of the night at 15-14.
Lakeside would regain the lead, lose it, then reclaim it again at 19-18 before powering through to a 25-21 win.
The third game started as more of the same, with Lakeside scoring first and putting Bainbridge again in catch-up mode.
But Bainbridge didn’t dally.
After the second tie of the game at 4-4, Bainbridge got in front and never relinquished its lead.
Lakeside pulled to within one point at 11-10, but Bainbridge scored the next eight points to build an insurmountable cushion.
In a feisty fourth, Bainbridge took the lead early and never trailed.
Service errors on both sides, however, kept the score close throughout much of the game.
Then, with Maureen McCormick serving, the Spartans seized a three-point lead and moved to 18-15.
Lakeside could pull no closer than four points the rest of the way, and the home crowd began to stomp and chant, “Bainbridge Spartans! Bainbridge Spartans!”
There was no let-up in the fifth. With Emma Burgess serving for the Spartans, BHS rocketed to a 4-0 start.
Again the gym echoed with the shouts and stomps of “Bainbridge Spartans!”
Though Lakeside was able to pull within three at 9-6, the Spartans pulled the plug on the Lions by winning the next three points, and after a one-point response from Lakeside, the final three points for the win.
The Spartans said they didn’t feel any pressure with the Mountain Division title hanging in the balance.
Coach Julie Miller said there were bigger distractions.
For one, it was Senior Night, and five Spartans — Erin Kinney, Katarina Frickleton, Maggie and Tess Haskin, and McCormick — were finishing their careers before the home crowd.
“Senior Night is always weird, because it’s their last home game. And the emotions, and it’s not a normal warm-up. It’s not the normal beginning of anything,” Miller said. “It always kind of throws you off.”
Add to the mix the frosty confines of the BHS gym.
“And it’s freezing in here. This is the coldest I think it’s ever been,” Miller added.
“All those things, they just mentally weren’t here in the beginning.
“We just kept telling them, ‘Try to do the right things, try to do the right things, and hopefully it will turn around.’”
“It did,” Miller said.
Maggie Haskin finished with 27 digs and 42 assists for the Spartans.
Hannah Wagner had 13 kills, and Lauren Sheehan added 12 kills. Kinney collected 10 kills.
Burgess was big for Bainbridge once again, and contributed 34 digs.
“Emma’s play, I think, was huge,” Miller said. “She was a little rusty in the beginning, but she turned it around and I think that made the big difference, because people were feeding off her passing and digging.”
Next week, the Spartans move on to the Metro League Tournament.
“Truth be told, this regular league season doesn’t mean anything. We want to win Metro,” Miller said.
“We want to do well, if not win, districts. And we want to get to state. Those are the things we really want,” she said.