Volleyball team ends season with success, heartbreak

With their first appearance at district finals since 2011, a record of 23-7, and five seniors on the court, the Yutan volleyball team ended their season with both success and heartbreak with the 2-3 loss to Norfolk Catholic.

The Chieftains started the district final with a home-court advantage, which helped them win the first two sets. Unfortunately, in the third set, the girls couldn’t rally the final point, and the Norfolk Catholic Knights won the third set, along with the fourth. Going into the final set, the Knights started out with a six-point lead and ended the district final game with a four-point lead. 

The Yutan volleyball team celebrates together after the subdistrict game versus Lourdes Central Catholic. The Chieftains beat the Knights with a 3-0 victory. (Kendyl Egr)

“I was heartbroken, completely devastated,” senior captain Haley Bedlan said. “I gave everything into this final season, and we just came short of going to state.”

Head coach Jodi Bierman felt the heartbreak as well.

“From the coaching perspective, I can’t think of anything more painful than what we went through at district finals,” Bierman said. “It was truly devastating.”

Looking back on the game, the girls felt they had some obstacles they couldn’t overcome.

“One thing I think we’re missing in the final game is our energy and positivity,” senior Kaitlyn Bisallion said. “I think when we had a few mistakes in a row, we snapped at each other instead of staying encouraging towards one another.”

On the upside, many goals were reached this season, which made the team proud of their accomplishments overall.

As a team, getting second at the conference tournament, making it to the district final game, and having the record that we had was pretty outstanding I would say,” sophomore Maura Tichota said.

Bierman also wants the team to focus on the positive parts of the season because she “doesn’t want to overshadow the accomplishments.”

“We only had 7 losses. All of those losses were to Top 10 teams, and a few of them were #1 teams in their class,” Bierman said. “This team has so much to be proud of. It’s human nature for people to focus on the last game, but I am hopeful, with time, we can focus on all the cool stuff we accomplished this season.”

Looking at the positive side of the district final, one highlight of the game was the environment in the gym and winning two out of the five sets. 

Senior Kaitlyn Bisallion hits the ball from the right side in the game against Ashland-Greenwood. Bisallion has been on varsity for three years now. (Laycee Josoff)

“I think it was winning the first two sets,” sophomore captain Ellie Lloyd said. “The crowd and the people that came for us helped us win not only those two sets but all of the games that we won.”

Bringing the season to an end, one piece of advice the seniors have for the underclassmen is to take this year and learn from it.

“I hope they use our last game as momentum to make it to state for not only themselves but for Coach Bierman, the student body, and the town of Yutan,” senior Brennan Jacobs said.

The seniors also encourage the underclassmen to put their all into every game and practice.

“You never realize how much it matters. Even as a senior I look back on my games from my junior year, and I think of things I would have done differently or focused on,” senior Christina Kerkman said. “Don’t take it for granted and don’t expect anything because you never know the outcome until you’ve earned it.”