When it looked like the Van Horn volleyball team was making progress, two big runs put the Falcons away Tuesday.

When it looked like the Van Horn volleyball team was making progress, two big runs put the Falcons away Tuesday.
The Falcons finished their 10-15 season with a 25-13, 25-9 loss to state-ranked Lee’s Summit Community Christian in the semifinals of the Class 2 District 15 Tournament at Barstow High School.
After the tough first loss – in which a late 7-0 Eagles run put the game away – the Falcons came out strong in the second game, playing to a 7-7 tie.
Then the Eagles took over, scoring 14 straight points to build a dominating 21-7 lead.
The only two points Van Horn would get the rest of the match would be on serving errors by the Eagles.
“I’m at a complete loss,” Falcons coach Cristin Nowak said of how the match ended. “I told the girls that it broke my heart. That made my heart hurt right there. We just didn’t have the confidence to just keep playing.”
Sophomore Corbie Krogman agreed, saying that last run felt as if the match just ended at 7-7 for Van Horn.
“I think we just gave up,” she said. “Some of the girls weren’t focused.
“They’re a good team and you can tell they’ve been playing together for a long time. They have a few seniors. We have one senior. It was just really frustrating at the end. We’re a new team. They’re a lot older and more experienced.”
Van Horn stayed in the first game through scrappy defense and forcing Lee’s Summit Christian into errors.
The Falcons crawled to within 17-12 before the Eagles scored seven straight points to go up 24-12.
In the second game, the Falcons fell behind 4-1 early, but fought back to tie the match at 7-7 on a Katie Stroud kill.
“That (run) was mostly (things happening) on our side,” Stroud said of the way the match ended. “They started doing some things. Things weren’t working as well for us, and we didn’t stay with it.”
However, despite the disappointment in how the season ended, both Nowak and her players were excited of how the season went, winning 10 matches with a group of players who had hardly played the game, never mind ever played together.
“Some of these girls had never touched a ball before,” Krogman said. “They had never played volleyball and just thought it would be fun to try out for the team, and they made it. We worked hard and really pulled together.”
Of the nine players listed on Van Horn’s roster for district play, only Tiffani Stevens is a senior. Stroud and Ana Smiddy are juniors. The rest of the team is sophomores, which excites Nowak about the future.
“I already talked to the girls and told them that I hoped they all come back,” Nowak said. “There is so much I’m excited about. I’m just ecstatic. They’ll have much more experience and more court time. They should keep improving so much. We played 25 matches this year and for some on the roster, that’s the first 25 matches they’ve ever played.”