By Jacob Cersosimo & Chris Parker
Logan-Rogersville’s bid for the program’s second state title came up one match short. The Wildcats lost in three sets to Westminster Christian Academy on Friday morning to finish runner-up in Class 4.
Rogersville jumped out quickly in the first set taking 2-0 and 4-3 leads before Westminster threw down a 6-1 run to take a 9-5 lead. The Wildcats tried to battle back with the next two points, but were quickly answered with another 6-1 run from WCA. Westminster Christian went on to win the set 25-18.
“You know how vital and crucial the first game is of the match. Everybody wants to come out of the gate taking care of that first game because that is a momentum boost. It gives you the upper hand the rest of the match,” Rogersville head coach Emily Hutcheson said. “During the exchange between game one and game two I told the girls ‘we are in this. This is a dogfight.’ If anything, my team knows how to fight. They have faced adversity. Their backs have been against the wall. I just tried to reassure them of that and encourage them to go out swinging and not to lay down.”
Rogersville led virtually the entire second set taking a 22-19 lead late without yielding the lead once until that point. Westminster, as they did all morning, had an answer. WCA went on yet another 6-1 run to close the set and take a 25-22 win and a commanding 2-0 lead.
“It was a much closer match in game two. Unfortunately the ball doesn’t always fall in your favor. It doesn’t matter how hard try or how much effort you give. Sometimes it is just the nature of the competition. It is why we do sports. It is why we compete. It wasn’t necessarily anything bad we were doing. Things were just not falling in our direction,” Hutcheson said.
That theme continued in the third set. It appeared that Rogersville had taken a 7-4 lead, but it was changed to a Westminster Christian point after a back row attack was called on Rogersville. That set off one more 6-1 run for Westminster Christian turning a potential 7-4 advantage for Rogersville into a 9-6 deficit.
Rogersville closed the gap to 10-9 in the third set, but WCA would throw down its fifth 6-1 run of the match to take a commanding 16-10 lead on the way to closing out the deciding set 25-17.
Brianna Linehan led the Rogersville attack with nine kills. Zoe Reel was just behind her with seven. Lauren Tyler had 27 assists. Olivia Freeze was dynamite serving the ball with four aces. Natalie Scott was strong on defense with 10 digs.
It wasn’t the result Rogersville wanted, but it was a ride that Hutcheson and her team will never forget.
“The best advice that I got from a coach was that you make it here and it is a blessing. It is a blessing for these kids. Every day that we got to play from districts on was a blessing. We viewed it as such. Your time is limited. Opportunities are given but they are taken away in a moment,” Hutcheson said. “You just have to ride the wave of that. Unfortunately our wave hit the shore a little earlier than Westminster’s today.”
Logan-Rogersville finishes the season with a 23-12-1 record overall.