Tigers lose close volleyball game at State Quarterfinals

The Cedar Falls Tigers season came to a close as they lost to the Pleasant Valley Spartans in the State Quarterfinals in the US Cellular Center on Nov. 2.

The Tigers won the first set by five points, but lost the next three sets. In the final set, they were down by only two points. 

Coach Matthew Johnson said he was very proud of how the girls did this season. “Our team did a great job this year.  Not only were we successful on the court, but our athletes really bought into the need to stay healthy and keep each other healthy by following Covid-19 protocols,” Johnson said. 

The setter for the volleyball team, senior Halia Mahi had a total of 534 assists during her senior season. Regarding the most challenging part of the quarterfinal game, Mahi said, “The energy on the court. In the first set, we came out with a lot of fire. We were ready to win, and we did just that. When the second set came around, we clicked back a notch. We didn’t come out with the same energy, which I think really killed us in the remaining sets,” Mahi said.

Senior Emmy Wedgbury said she was upset to see her senior season come to an end but was overall happy with how the final game went.  We played as a true team because everyone was playing for each other, not themselves. The underclassmen were playing for the seniors, and the seniors were playing to not end their season for the rest of the team. Overall, I was very proud of the way we competed,” Wedgbury said. 

For a few people on the team, this was their first time playing at State. Junior Anisia Smith had her first State experience during the quarterfinal game. She said she had mixed emotions about the big crowd, and it brought some worries. “The hardest part of the quarterfinals was not letting the big sized crowd throw us off or make us nervous. We had to trust each other in the moment, and that was extremely hard,” Smith said.  However, the crowd also brought more comfort to the game. Smith said, “Hearing the crowd screaming your name when you scored a point. It was amazing to know that they were cheering for you.”

While Johnson said he was very happy with how his team played throughout the season, he was sad to see it come to an end. Johnson said, “The hardest part was the abruptness of the end. Just like we didn’t have some of the team bonding that we normally get during a season, we didn’t get the finality of getting to bond as a team, talk with parents after the match, have a large banquet and a lot of the other things that bring closure to a season.”

As the match went on, the Tigers had lost the sets, 21-25, 22-25, 23-25, as Pleasant Valley took the lead and wrapped up the win. 

Each match closer than the next, the Tigers were continuously working together to find it within themselves to take the game for our school. 

In the third set, the Tigers tied the game but were unable to take the lead. 

By the end of the game, Pleasant Valley had ended with a total of 95 points while the Tigers went home with 91.

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