William Chrisman volleyball coach Dean Rausch wanted one of his players to come through in the clutch Thursday night.
Chrisman sophomore Abby Bauman decided she would be the one.
With the Bears leading 22-21 in the decisive third game of their Suburban Middle Six match at crosstown rival Fort Osage, Rausch made his request for “one person to step up their game and finish it” during a timeout, according to Bauman. Bauman responded with two kills – the second for game and match point.
“I knew that was my opportunity, that I could finish the game,” Bauman said moments after Chrisman’s 25-23, 22-25, 25-23 win. “So I just gave it my all, tried my best.”
Rausch was pleased to see Bauman step up because of the absence of Bauman’s older sister Morgan, who was sidelined with a concussion she had suffered this past weekend during Chrisman’s tournament.
“I wanted Abby to kind of play a little bit for Morgan. … That’s all I was concerned about, because Morgan’s probably our most consistent hard hitter,” he said. “And so, those are big shoes to fill – and I thought she did a nice job.”
Chrisman senior Davionna Lagrone took it upon herself to step up in the first game. With the Bears leading 24-23 and teammate Makelle Miller serving, Lagrone made the game-winning kill.
The memory of Chrisman’s Oct. 11, 2016, loss at Fort Osage helped motivate Lagrone to make the play.
“We went three and we ended up losing,” she said. “So for me, it was just bringing my team back – and being my senior year, bringing us home with a win.”
Fort Osage (6-8-2, 0-3 league) made enough plays early on to bolt to a 7-1 lead in the second game. The run helped the Indians build a 20-9 cushion – which, in turn, helped them withstand a late Bears surge.
Trailing 21-15 in the match finale, Fort Osage staged a 6-1 run before timeout was called and Rausch made the request that the younger Bauman answered. For Fort Osage, the rally was keeping with the team’s focus on coming back from slumps, said coach Vanessa Gage, who added that the Indians struggle to rally when they get in a slump.
“As you saw in Game 3, we were down some points and we had to really fight to get back,” Gage said. “And sometimes, we just get ourselves in such a big hole that it’s a big struggle to come back.”
By withstanding Fort Osage’s late fight to win it, the Bears (6-8, 1-3) capped a match that Rausch suggested was in keeping with the Fort Osage-Chrisman series overall.
“(It seems like) every time we play, somebody’s got to get that third one. ... I think both teams fought very, very hard,” he said.