Rams' rally falls; Soroco ends season


— A 10-point rally in the second round of the district tournament had Soroco seeing victory against the second-seeded Grand Valley Cardinals. But the comeback failed and so did the Rams' chances of getting a second win in the three-game match.
The third-seeded Rams lost to the Cardinals, 17-15, 15-17, 13-15, and fell out of contention for a 2A regional tournament berth.
The comeback happened in the second game after the Rams beat the Cardinals in overtime, 17-15.
The Rams kept all the games close with a 92 percent serving accuracy and 45 kills.
"That was the best we played all year," Rams coach Betsy Photos said. "We just got slow starts."
She wasn't kidding.
The Rams were down 6-12 in the first game and 2-12 in the second. However, good net play and aggressive digging got them back in both games, shaking the Cardinals' methodical scoring style.
Senior Katherine Ford led Soroco in kills with 18. She also chalked up a team-high 11 saves.
Senior Sarah Broadbent had a personal-best 65 assists, along with eight saves and three kills. Junior Meg Hayne played well with nine kills and nine saves. Fellow junior Sara Jo Linden had seven kills, six blocks and eight saves.
Grand Valley coach Lorile Loesch said the Soroco game was key in the tournament. First-seed West Grand was undefeated in the league and several teams were shooting for second place to earn the second regional berth. Grand Valley and Soroco split games in the regular season, heightening the intensity of the match.
"All week long we prepared knowing it would be the game of the day," Loesch said. "I knew the loser would have been mentally and physically drained."
That proved to be true. After the Grand Valley loss, Soroco fell to West Grand in two games, 15-6, 15-6.
That left the Rams hoping North Park would beat Grand Valley in the sixth game of the tournament.
And there certainly was reason for hope.
Fifth-seeded North Park had started the tournament as the spoilers, knocking off fourth-seeded Hayden in a pigtail match, 15-5, 15-5.
Hayden coach Kipp Rillos was stunned by the loss.
"They were real nervous," he said of his players. "I felt going into it that we were pretty well prepared."
The loss knocked Hayden, 5-5 in the conference and 11-8 overall, out of the tournament and ending the best season for the team since 1983.
After the Hayden win, North Park played West Grand tough but couldn't come up with a win.
North Park also stretched Grand Valley to three games before losing, 15-12, 12-15 and 10-15.
That ended all postseason hope for the Rams, who had to settle playing against North Park for third place.
The Rams won 15-12, 15-6 with 27 team kills. Soroco finished 5-5 in the conference and 12-8 overall.
West Grand was first in the tournament and Grand Valley placed second. Both teams advance to the regional playoffs.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail dcrowl@amigo.net


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