Bears volleyball sweeps Falcons

By Cody Thorn
Special to The Examiner

William Chrisman continued its winning streak against Van Horn on the volleyball court Tuesday night.

The Bears closed the first set on an 8-2 run to pick up the victory and then rolled from there to win the best-of-five matchups in a 3-0 fashion.

Chrisman won 25-19, 25-15 and 25-14 to improve to 2-1 on the season. The victory marked the sixth straight for the Bears against the Falcons dating back to 2009 – and every one of them has been in a sweep.

“It is early for us and we are still making mistakes and unforced errors, but those are fixable,” said Chrisman coach Mary Lile, whose team’s hitting percentage was only .187 in the win. “We only lost two players from last year’s team, so we have a pretty solid group.”

The first set was the most competitive, as Van Horn took a 7-5 lead and neither team had a lead of more than two points for quite some time. The back-and-forth opening saw the score tied seven other times after the Bears forged a 7-7 tie on a return error by the Falcons (3-4).

The last time the match was tied was at 17, when a shot by Van Horn’s Sanoma Hunter went off a Chrisman defender and out of bounds.

Chrisman scored the next three points to take the lead for good, as Van Horn coach Jackie Becker tried to quell the momentum with a timeout. Chrisman scored the next three points – six in a row – to take a 23-17 lead. A return error stopped the run for a moment, but the Bears pulled away.

The Bears had control of the start and finish of the second set.

Chrisman fell behind 2-0 initially but then rallied thanks to a pair of kills from Madison Kommel and with left-handed swinging Courtney Taylor serving, took a 12-6 lead.

Van Horn pulled within five, 20-15, but Chrisman closed out the match on errors by the Falcons.

“We just made too many errors down the stretch,” said Becker, the head coach this year after serving as an assistant last year. “It is something we will continue to work on. We didn’t take advantage of opportunities. We will come into practice tomorrow and work hard, and we will figure out the best six people to put on the floor.”

Chrisman had control of the third set, taking a 10-4 lead, and never allowed the Falcons to pull closer than six the rest of the way. At one point, the Bears led by 10, but a mini-run by Van Horn happened thanks to a kill by senior Brianna Herrick and serving by junior Nitzia Castillo. The team scored six straight points to pull within 17-13.

The loss was the fourth straight for the Falcons after a 3-0 start and the third straight by a 3-0 sweep in the new MSHSAA best-of-five format.

The biggest statistic that told the story of the game was Kommel finishing with 10 kills, while Taylor added eight. Van Horn had 10 kills as a team.

Patience Farmer had 15 digs, while Brooklyn Burkey dished out 14 assists for the Bears. Chrisman also had 11 aces, led by Mele Tuala’s three. Three other players had two each.

Chrisman hosts Winnetonka on Thursday, while Van Horn entertains Lincoln College Prep the same night.