William Chrisman had to do more than fight through a one-game deficit against Harrisonville Saturday afternoon to place third at its own volleyball tournament.
The Bears also had to fight through some early tournament losses – and an injury bug.
Chrisman lost four players during the daylong tournament, Bears coach Dean Rausch said. Junior outside hitter Morgan Bauman pulled a muscle. Libero Cassie Simpson injured a knee. Freshman Patience Farmer, a defensive specialist, hurt her back. Senior Skyler Corbett, a right front hitter, was ill.
“Given all that, I was very proud of … the remaining players, especially the performance of senior middle (hitter) Dee Lagrone,” Rausch said. “She really stepped it up and provided direction and leadership with the youngsters coming in during bracket play.”
To reach the winner’s bracket – and thus, finish third – the Bears had to rebound from a 25-17, 25-14 loss in their first pool play match to eventual tournament champion St. Joseph Central. They did so by sweeping three straight matches – Raytown South (25-10, 25-23), Odessa (25-17, 25-23) and Kansas City East Christian (25-11, 25-7) – to place second in the Gold Pool.
“The girls were all really feeling fired up at that point,” Chrisman assistant coach Deanna Meyer said. “The injuries weren’t a factor yet, so that helped.”
Next, Chrisman had to rebound from losing 27-25, 25-22 to Junction City (Kan.) in the winner’s bracket semifinals, followed by a 25-14 loss to Harrisonville in the first game of the third-place match. The Bears and Wildcats were knotted at 6-6 when Harrisonville took control by staging a 14-2 run.
“I think they really executed their serves – and that helped a ton,” Harrisonville coach Cheyanne Lyons said.
The Bears fell behind 5-1 in the second game, but gutted out a 25-22 win to force the tiebreaker in the best-of-three match. Despite having some key players sidelined, they repeatedly traded leads with the Wildcats during the match finale before pulling out a 29-27 win for third place.
“We all knew we just had to step our games up to conquer (them),” said Bears sophomore Abby Bauman, Morgan Bauman’s younger sister.
The third-place victory put the Bears at 5-7 entering their conference road match tonight at Oak Park. The younger Bauman said that the win – and going 4-2 for the day – achieved something else for Chrisman – it brought the program some much-deserved respect.
“We did play our hearts out,” she said. “And we came in third place – which is, I feel like, really good for us.”