Promising volleyball team exits in first round
With more smiles than tears, the Quincy Lady Jacks volleyball team closed the book on their 2018 season after losing to Ephrata 3-0 in the first round of district playoffs on Oct. 30.
The match, played in Ellensburg, saw a Quincy team put on a valiant effort, but ultimately yield to a stout Tiger team.
“We didn’t pass very well, and for us to be good, because we are so young, we need to be in system,” Quincy head coach Dean Pratt said. “When we get out of system, we are a little scattered and not as volleyball-smooth as other teams. When we are passing the ball well, we are a formidable team, and when we are stuck doing it poorly, it’s hard for us to get over the hump.”Nevertheless, the balance is positive for a squad that fell one set short of earning a playoff berth last year, losing a heartbreaker in five sets at Grandview. This year, the team made it into the postseason and had at least a taste of that playoff atmosphere.
“It’s a new experience for them,” Pratt said of his team. “It’s the kind of thing you grow from, and we will just keep getting better.”
Against Ephrata, the Jacks held leads repeatedly throughout the last two-thirds of the game, but could not keep the Lady Tigers at bay. In the second set, Quincy led 14-10, only to watch as the felines from the county seat came roaring back to retake the lead on an 8-0 run and take the second set 25-18.
In the third set, Quincy led 12-9, and 22-19. After an Ephrata timeout, the Lady Tigers took advantage of some Quincy errors to take the set 25-23.
The Lady Tigers went on to lose 3-1 to Ellensburg that same evening and will now play Selah in a loser-out contest Nov. 1. The winner of that match will go on to play a crossover match against a team from the Great Northern League for a berth to state.
Meanwhile, the Lady Jacks will look back on this season as a positive one, where they fulfilled Pratt’s preseason promise to be competitive in every match.
“We had an epic win against Selah, we took Ephrata to five (sets) twice, we got our butts kicked in one game, when we came here to Ellensburg, and the rest of the time, we were competing every point, and that’s all I ever ask of them.”
The team will lose Morgan Kleyn, Julissa Herrejon, Dani Ronish, Avery Vander Veen to graduation and exchange student Gio Ratti to a plane ticket home to Italy. Both Herrejon and Vander Veen play as liberos, a volleyball team’s defensive specialist, so the emphasis will be on developing the next libero. Other than that, the cupboard looks nice and full.
“Got all my setters, got all my middles, got a nice, tall eighth-grader coming up next year,” Pratt said. In addition, a youth volleyball camp three weeks ago had Pratt expecting to see about a dozen girls. Twenty-eight showed up.
“It was a pleasure to see,” Pratt said.
By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com