Volleyball run comes to close after remarkable unbeaten regular season


Photo by Mason Berk

The girls’ volleyball team huddles up after winning a critical late point in the fourth set.

On Nov. 10, the undefeated Patriots faced off against rival Churchill in the regional final for a chance to move on to the state quarterfinals and extend the team’s win streak to 16. The jam-packed gym was split evenly between red and blue in a game that featured the largest fan attendance of the season for the Patriots.

Out of the gates the Bulldogs got off to a hot start with a 4-0 lead. The points would go back and forth until the Patriots called a timeout down 9-5. During the timeout the Bulldog bench players started chants to hype up the crowd and players were whooping and cheering in the huddle to try to keep up the momentum for the rest of the set. The high energy would up pay off as, even though the Bulldogs’ lead was cut to as little as three, they would hold on to win the set 25-19.

The Bulldogs picked up right where they left off as they quickly jumped to a 3-0 to start the second set. They would continue their lead midway through the set, leading 12-6 until a Patriots run capped off by a block by senior Bella Bargman cut the lead to 12-10. The Patriots would continue the momentum and tie the set up at 15-15 before taking an 18-16 lead off of a dominant spike from junior Lauren Smith. The Patriots’ second set firepower would be too strong for the Bulldogs as both teams would go back and forth exchanging points until the Patriots finished the set 25-23.

The third set would follow the nightly trend of Bulldog hot starts as they got out to an early 7-3 lead where they capitalized on multiple Patriot unforced errors. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 11-5 to force an early Patriots timeout. Unfortunately the timeout would not lead to any momentum and the Bulldogs would end up winning the set 25-20.

With their season on the line the Patriots came out with a vengeance in the fourth set as they jumped out to an early 4-2 start. They would extend the lead to 15-10 with an ace from senior Miranda Saenger and force the Bulldogs to call a timeout. The Patriots would hold onto the comfortable lead and win the set with the help of an ace from freshman Taryn Su.

With the match tied up 2-2, the winner of the final set would go on to play in the state quarterfinals and the loser’s season would come to an end. With tensions riding high, both sides of the electrifying crowd came alive and students left and right stood to their feet. The Bulldogs rose to the occasion and would hold the lead for the entirety of the set winning 15-8 and sending the Patriots home after a historic undefeated season.

Senior Miranda Saenger said, “This was such a fantastic season to be able to grow as a team and compete against other amazing teams along the way. Although it didn’t end how we would’ve wanted, we were able to accept the loss and be proud of our season up until this point.”