Late surge in district loss is consolation for Falcons

By Bill Althaus
Van Horn's Sanoma Hunter delivers a serve in a Class 4 District 15 semifinal match against top-seeded St. Pius X Tuesday at Winnetonka High School. Hunter and the Falcons fell 3-0.

One memorable play and an unforgettable rally will help first-year Van Horn volleyball coach Jackie Becker deal with the simple fact that her Falcons’ season came to an end Tuesday.

Top-seeded St. Pius X swep to a 3-0 (25-5, 25-16, 25-21) victory but the Falcons did not go out without a fight in the Class 4 District 15 semifinals at Winnetonka High School.

The Warriors advance to the 6 p.m. championship against the host Griffins, who earned a 3-1 victory over William Chrisman in the night’s other semifinal.

On the Warriors’ 24th point of the third set, Van Horn’s Sanoma Hunter dove into the stands in an attempt to knock the ball back on the court.

That type of hustle earned lavish praise from Becker.

“Sanoma is just a sophomore and she has improved so much this season,” Becker said after the Falcons wrapped up a 10-13 season. “She hustles like that all the time.

“And I thought all our girls hustled and played hard tonight. I think we were a little bit intimidated early, but once we got going we did some good things out there.”

Van Horn's Aimee Hanes bumps a pass to a teammate in Tuesday's Class 4 District 15 semifinal match against St. Pius X at Winnetonka High School. The Falcons lost 3-0.

Junior Erika Parrish kept alive a second-set rally with a diving dig, which led to four consecutive Falcon points.

“I think one play, one rally, something that really gets a team excited can carry over throughout the night,” Becker said. “We played much better in the second set and really played well in the third set.

“It hurts to play that well in the third set, knowing your season is over. But it can show our girls what they can accomplish if they work hard in the offseason and come into next season ready to play.”

Hunter and Parrish managed smiles, despite the loss.

“Tonight was just different mentally,” Hunter said. “We just weren’t ready to play early on, and once we started playing – and finally realized we could play with them – we made it exciting.”

Parrish nodded in agreement and added, “We started off too slow to win tonight, but I thought we really finished well. We finished strong, and everyone was fired up and excited when Sanoma dove into the stands after that ball.

“Coach Becker has done a great job with our team, and we hate to say goodbye to our seniors, but all of us who are coming back next year can’t wait.”