It proved difficult at first for Mallory McGraw and William Chrisman’s other three seniors to focus on the task at hand Wednesday night. There was a volleyball game to be played, but not just any game.
This would be their last time together on their home floor.
“There were tears. I tried to hold them back but it didn’t work,” McGraw said. “I did not achieve that goal.”
But McGraw and her fellow seniors – Abby Bauman, Laycee Papa and Jennifer David – achieved their main goal. William Chrisman completed its regular season with a convincing 25-10, 25-15 victory over Ruskin and sent the foursome out in style, much to the delight of coach Mary Lile.
“I’m just glad all four seniors could contribute and get on the court and do some good things,” Lile said. “They deserve it; they’ve been working hard.”
The hard part came early, as the four seniors dealt with the emotions of the evening. As they tried to get focused, Ruskin took advantage and scored the first two points of the opening set.
“I think we had a lot of jitters,” Bauman said. “We were all, no crying, going to miss each other, stuff like that. It was a rough beginning, but I think we finished strong.”
Once they settled down, it didn’t take long for Chrisman to take control with a 12-1 run that included three aces. David had five aces to lead the Bears, who dominated with the serve in both sets. Chrisman finished the match with nine aces.
“We served really good this game, which I think carried us to the win,” Bauman said.
Ruskin (2-19-2, 0-12 Suburban Middle Seven) stayed within 6-6 in the second set until Chrisman went on a 7-0 run. The Eagles closed within 18-14 before the Bears ended the match with a 7-1 stretch.
While it was a big night for the seniors, it was the underclassmen who led the Bears attack. Sophomore Courtney Taylor had a team-best six kills for Chrisman and junior Madison Kommel had five.
It all added up to a second consecutive win for Chrisman (6-9-1, 6-5-1), a good sign as the Bears head for the postseason. The Bears are seeded sixth in the Class 4 District 14 tournament and will open against Fort Osage on Monday at Truman.
“We’re ready for districts,” Lile said. “We’ve had two wins in a row and hopefully this will carry over.”
That, of course, is the wish of the four seniors who want to keep their last home game from being their last victory.
“I was just thinking about how I walked in here freshman year and now it’s been four years later,” McGraw said. “It’s crazy; It doesn’t seem real.”