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Morning Sun
  • Match was ‘more than volleyball’

  • The high school volleyball triangular between Frontenac, Girard and host St. Mary’s Colgan displayed teams, families and communities at their best — a cause larger than volleyball, a great crowd and three competitive matches inside St. Mary’s Colgan Fieldhouse.

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  • The high school volleyball triangular between Frontenac, Girard and host St. Mary’s Colgan displayed teams, families and communities at their best — a cause larger than volleyball, a great crowd and three competitive matches inside St. Mary’s Colgan Fieldhouse.
    “Tonight I feel like we were just one supporting a great cause,” Frontenac head coach Cassie Buche said, “and it was an emotional night for us, Lindsey (Gorham) and her family. It was completely awesome to look into the stands and see so much pink and so much support.
    “I can’t say enough great things about (Colgan head coach) Cathy Oplotnik and her program and (Girard head coach) Emily Vosseler and her program. For them to donate their proceeds to Lindsey’s family was just a tremendous thing for them to do. I just have so much respect for them and for their kids to be willing to do it and for my kids, we raised over $2,000 profit for Lindsey’s family just from selling these shirts. The girls wanted to do something awesome for Lindsey because of who Lindsey and who Lindsey’s family is and it was about a lot more than volleyball.”
    “It’s a great thing for our three schools because I think the three schools are great rivals,” Colgan head coach Cathy Oplotnik said. “To see our communities come together and support this cause was amazing. It was a great atmosphere in this gym tonight. This is the most people we’ve had here for a volleyball match ever.
    “A lot of pink tonight. We were making the comment that we were trying to find people from our school and we couldn’t see them because there was so much pink in the crowd. But, you know, it was for a great cause, a great family and I’m glad that we could be a part of it.”
    Since Frontenac does not have a home volleyball match in October, since this is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and since Frontenac senior Lindsey Gorham’s mother, Diana, was recently diagnosed with cervical cancer, Frontenac, Girard and Colgan banded together for Tuesday night with all proceeds benefiting the Gorham family.
    On the court, Frontenac came out 2-0, Girard 1-1 and Colgan 0-2. Girard defeated Colgan 2-0 in the opener (25-22, 26-24), Frontenac outlasted Girard 2-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-20) and Frontenac defeated Colgan 2-0 (25-23, 25-21) in the nightcap. All that volleyball (seven sets) and teams separated by only 23 points.
    “We had to go take care of business volleyball wise,” Buche said. “I’m not sure if some of the emotions didn’t get in the way for some of the night. I felt like we were peaks and valleys all night. We didn’t have a lot of consistency but we’re going home with two wins.
    Page 2 of 3 - “We did a lot of good things tonight. One of the biggest things I saw was that my girls are never going to give up. It doesn’t matter the score, it doesn’t matter the circumstances, it doesn’t matter the emotions, they’re never going to give up and when you have that in a group of kids, you can have nights where physical mistakes happen and overcome them.”
    Frontenac and Girard played the lone three-set match of the night. Girard won the first set after coming back from a 23-18 deficit with a 7-0 set-ending run. Frontenac errors and the sister tandem of Audrey and Hayden Bauer proved tough down the stretch.
    “We should never have gave up that first set against Girard,” Buche said. “We had the lead, I think we were up 23-18 and when we’re that close to 25, we’ve got to put our foot down and go. We didn’t do that, we let up and we started playing safe. We were almost playing not to lose rather than to win and you can’t do that against a good team like Girard. Give credit to both the Bauer girls (Hayden, Audrey). We did everything we could to shut them down and we were having a tough time against them.”
    Frontenac recovered the next two sets and closed out Girard 25-20 in both. In fact, players like Ryleigh McCartney and Paige Badart seemed particularly relentless at the end of sets against Girard and Colgan.
    McCartney led Frontenac with 16 kills, 15 digs and one block against Girard. Badart had 11 kills and one block, Libby Warrick six kills and Lauren Hipfl four kills. Andi Palumbo added 15 digs, Nayna Fields 13 digs, Jennifer Long 12 digs  and Gorham 12 digs. Gorham distributed 37 assists against Girard, averaging just over 12 assists per set.
    In the nightcap against Colgan, Fields led with 20 digs and Palumbo and Long each came through with 14 digs. Gorham had 23 assists and Badart eight kills and two blocks, McCartney eight kills and three blocks, Warrick four kills and Hipfl three kills.
    Colgan enjoyed leads against Girard and Frontenac late in every set — 22-20 (first set) and 24-19 (second set) against Girard and 22-19 (first set) and 21-19 (second set) against Frontenac.
    “All three matches were great volleyball,” Oplotnik said. “It’s just disappointing not to win. If we get over that hump, I feel like it will be a completely different team. But tonight, we played at a whole different level and I’m very proud of them. I think we have more that we can improve on.”
    Colgan senior Katelyn Flood had seven assists against Girard and six against Frontenac. Kelly Smith and Alex Minton each had four and five assists, respectively, in respective matches against Girard and Frontenac. Aliee Story had three digs against Girard and five against Frontenac. Cori Koehn had two blocks against Frontenac.
    Page 3 of 3 - Offensively, for Colgan, Abbie O’Brien led with five kills against Girard and six against Frontenac. Katie Kolarik also had five kills against Girard. Sydney Beck finished with five kills against Frontenac and four against Girard. Kathryn Smith had three kills against Girard and Koehn had four against Frontenac.
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