VERSAILLES – Thursday night’s matchup between Versailles and Marion Local wasn’t just an important match being played to determine the Midwestern Athletic Conference champion, but it also was a meeting of state powerhouses.
The Lady Tigers came into this contest as the 13th rated squad in the state of all Division III volleyball teams while the Lady Flyers had achieved the fifth spot in the Division IV poll. On this evening Marion was the aggressor, taking three of four sets and the victory.
All four sets were determined by a late-game surge that propelled the winner to victory. Each set was close until a team seized control and firmly grasped the win.
Marion Local broke on top in set one, scoring the first four points, but the Lady Tigers rallied to tie the score at 7 and again at 8. The Lady Flyers’ Lexi Arling then took over serving and led her team to 10 straight points. Versailles could only muster one of the final 18 points scored, and Marion took set one 25-9.
Set two was a much more even affair with neither team gaining much of an advantage. The final tie was at 17 when the Lady Tigers took ownership of this round. They scored the next five points and eight of the final 10 to break away from the Lady Flyers to take set two 25-19.
Versailles seemed to have things working its way now as they broke out to an 11-7 lead in set three, but Marion fought back to tie the score at 13. It was the Lady Flyers turn to have late game heroics as they outplayed the Lady Tigers to a 12-6 the remainder of the way to take set three 25-19.
The final set was played out with a variation of the theme of the evening. It was closely contested early on and the score was tied at 15. Versailles scored seven of the next eight points to build a 22-16 commanding lead.
The variation was that this time Marion added another surge of its own. The Flyers scored the next three points to bring the score to 22-19. The Lady Tigers added a point to build the advantage to 23-19, but they would not score again. The Lady Flyers added the final six points to take set four 25-23 and win the match.
“All props to Marion. They obviously wanted the game,” Versailles Coach Kenzie Bruggeman said. “They kept the ball in the court.”
Versailles won the junior varsity match 10-25, 25-23 and 25-17.