Braves fall short in five-set match at Bloomington North


Dylan Wallace

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It was a rollercoaster of momentum between Bloomington North and Brownstown Central on Thursday night in the Cougars’ gym.

The Braves’ volleyball team dropped a tight five-setter 16-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-22, 8-15.

After dropping the first set, Brownstown was able to come back and take the second set.

Bloomington North tried to rally late in the second set, but the Braves were able to hold them off.

Unfortunately, that momentum didn’t carry over into the third set. Brownstown could never really get control of the ball in the third set as Bloomington North led by as many as 10 in the set to eventually win it 25-16.

With their backs against the wall on the road — without head coach Jennifer Shade due to COVID-19 and without their JV or freshman team behind them to cheer — Brownstown showed resiliency.

It was a back-and-forth fourth set. The two teams were tied 10-10, then 15-15, until the Braves went on a mini 2-0 run to take a 17-15 lead.

North called a timeout after that, and out of the timeout, rallied off three-straight points to take a 18-17 lead. The crowd was going crazy, but the Braves remained undeterred.

Kelsey Wischmeier got a kill to make it 19-18 in favor of Brownstown, and then Kalee Borden got a kill to make it 21-19. From there, Brownstown had just enough of a cushion to take the set 25-22 and force a deciding fifth set.

“I told them, ‘Let’s go ahead and win this one,’” assistant coach Paige Wheeler said. “They just kept going one point at a time. We needed to extend the run a bit. They showed us that they can come out and win that game, and that showed me a lot.”

Wheeler thought the Braves looked a little fatigued in the fifth set, and the Cougars raced out to a 6-1 lead, then 9-3, and things became too much to overcome.

“It’s hard to go play five sets and lose because you put so much into it,” Wheeler said. “But they’re OK. This is one of the first games. We just need to get a little bit more energy in us.”

Brownstown will be back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Providence. The Braves will also be getting their head coach back on the sideline today as Shade returns to practice from COVID-19.

“Serve-receive, definitely,” Wheeler said on things the team will work on. “Trying to pull the ball away quicker, blocking, but mainly serve-receive, giving our setter something she can do something with.”

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