After spending all four years in the Morris volleyball program, the Redskins senior class would have liked to have found a different way to go out.
Luckily, after losing a two-game set – 25-20, 25,19 – to Yorkville on Thursday at home on senior night, there is still a little time for the team to make amends.
“I know we played good volleyball tonight, it just wasn’t good enough,” Morris senior Austin Thompson said. “I know the seniors are upset about tonight, but we still have two more games left and then the regional.”
“Our goal is to finish strong in our last two matches and in the postseason,” Morris coach Jackie Litwiller said.
It’s hard to imagine two more evenly matched teams than Morris and Yorkville. The Foxes won the first encounter of the season in three games and the two teams picked up right where they left off.
It was so close, in fact, that there were 12 ties in a back and forth game.
“That’s how it’s always been since I’ve been here,” Yorkville coach Mike Dunn said. “It’s a great rivalry between Morris and Yorkville. For the team to come in here and win like this shows me something. We played one of our better matches this season tonight.”
There were only nine ties in the second game as the Foxes (20-9, 6-2) used a late run to pull away after the game was tied 19-19 at one point.
“I think we had a lot of mental blocks tonight,” Thompson said. “If we make a mistake, we have to learn to shake it off and I don’t think we did that enough tonight.”
Litwiller said the downfall was the defense.
“Our defense was off,” she said. “Then in turn, that takes us out of our system. We can’t hit as well when that happens.”
For the night, Thompson ended with four kills; Tata Torkelson had 13 assists, three digs and two aces; Kaylin Korte three kills and eight digs; Morgan Hussey nine digs and JoAnna Nowicki three kills and three digs.
The six seniors on the team this year are Thompson, Daisy Gonzalez, Cara Cummings, Hussey, Abby Baker and Kirsten Galloway.
“This is the biggest class I’ve had here since I’ve been the coach,” Litwiller said. “It’s going to be bittersweet to see the season come to an end.”
“I know all six of us have played all four years in the program and we have gotten close as a group,” Thompson said.
“I love them all.”