The day started off about as bad as it could as the Liberators dropped their opening match to El Dorado Springs in two sets. Throughout the match and afterwards Bolivar’s players did not look like themselves and it appeared this early loss could become a harbinger of things to come on the day.
Bolivar’s head coach Stacey Ramsey had a message for her team after the opening loss.
“After the El Dorado match this morning ‘I said girls this isn’t us. We are not even playing and having fun’. We just needed to find ourselves,” Ramsey said.
In the break it would appear that the Lady Liberators did find themselves as they blasted Greenfield in two sets 25-13 and 25-9 in their second match.
It would prove to be the turning point for the day.
“In the Greenfield match when we came out and we were pounding it was a total turnaround,” Ramsey said.
Before the Greenfield match, Bolivar had not won a set and after the Lady Liberators would rattle off six straight set wins and three match wins as they rolled through Marshfield and Buffalo on the way to the finals.
A familiar foe in El Dorado Springs would await. The Lady Bulldogs had lost just one set on the day and beat Clever 25-23 and 25-15 in the semifinals.
Bolivar fought hard in the first set, but ultimately dropped the opening frame 25-22.
Ramsey again worked to motivate her team to snap the losing streak to El Dorado Springs.
“(We said) girls you can do this. We can do this. Just believe in yourselves and let’s get out there and get it done. Just keep playing hard and it will happen,” Ramsey said.
Bolivar came out on fire and rolled to a 25-14 second set win to force a decisive third set.
Early on the two teams battled back and forth until the Lady Bulldogs went on an 8-2 run and built a seemingly insurmountable lead at 20-14.
The Lady Liberators answered with their own 8-2 run to tie the match at 22. It was then that the battle would go back-and-forth and push past the 25-point barrier.
Throughout the see-saw battle, Ramsey was confident in what her girls were doing.
“I was thinking that I have a great group of girls and they are going to pull this out,” Ramsey said.
That is exactly what Bolivar did ultimately winning by a score of 28-26 to take the Buffalo Tournament title.
It was a big step for a team that has only two players with extensive varsity experience coming into this season.
“These girls are learning how to work together and stay together and have fun,” said. “This will be a big turnaround for them because actually they believed that they could do it.”
The Lady Liberators won’t have long to enjoy their tournament title as El Dorado Springs is next up on the schedule for Tuesday.
Buffalo came into its tournament with hopes of hoisting the championship trophy, but those hopes were dashed in a two-set loss to district foe Bolivar in the semifinals.
“We didn’t show up period. We didn’t play our game we just had a total mental block and it showed,” Buffalo head coach Carmen Smith said.
The Lady Bison had to regroup quickly and face a Clever team they had already defeated earlier in the day. Buffalo would take the match in two sets 25-19 and 30-28, but the Lady Blue Jays made the Bison earn the win.
“Clever played well. We played them our second match in pool play today, so we kind of knew what to expect. They played better in the bracket play than the pool play. We had to step it up a bit to come back and win,” Smith said.
Even though the third place trophy is not the one the Lady Bison wanted it still will be a reminder of a strong tournament for Buffalo.
“There were nine teams here and we got third. We did a lot of good things. We lost one game today. It just happened to be the one to get you into the championship,” Smith said.
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