The first time that the Madison-Grant and the Wapahani met back on September 16, the result was a five-set thriller, one that the Argylls came within five points of winning and showcasing their ability to hang with some of the top teams in Class 2A.
On Saturday at Elwood, however, the rematch was vastly different, as a slow start, uncharacteristic struggles with confidence, and a plethora of unforced errors proved costly in a three-set loss to the Raiders in the Class 2A Regional 10 Final (8-25, 17-25, 23-25).
Wapahani, last year’s Class 2A State Final runner-ups, clicked on all cylinders. Their offense, with a combination of hitters like Chloe Cook, Camryn Wise, Kaydence Brewer, and Bryleigh Felton, terrorized the Madison-Grant defense, attacking the middle of the floor with ferocity.
However, the Argylls certainly did not help themselves, committing 27 errors over the course of the three-set affair.
“[When you’re] off balance and don’t have confidence in what you’re supposed to be doing, that’s when you start making mistakes,” Madison-Grant Head Coach Kayla Jump said. “I will say that we did do a lot better as we were going, but you can’t wait. You can’t wait until you’re down a few points and then start doing it.”
Early in the first set, the Argylls trailed only 3-2. However, the Raiders began to find their groove, and Madison-Grant’s mistakes began to add up. A 4-0 run by Wapahani increased their lead to 7-2, and subsequent 6-0 and 4-0 surges allowed the Raiders to win the first set handily.
While Cook and Brewer were unstoppable in the first set, combining for eight kills and two blocks, the Argylls gave up 10 points on hitting and service errors alone. And while their confidence was high to start the match, it gradually waned as the set progressed and their uncharacteristic errors continued to pile up.
“They run a lot faster offense than what we’ve been playing against, but it was a confidence issue,” Madison-Grant Head Coach Kayla Jump said. “I have no idea why my team would not have confidence going into play when we’ve already played Wapahani and went five, and after how well they played this morning. I think that was the big factor.
“They do a lot of good things. They serve hard and run everything quick, but we were trying to control us instead of trying to control them. They start worrying about themselves rather than worrying about the game.”
The second set got off to an auspicious start as well, as the Raiders scored seven points to once again put themselves in control. Grace Holmberg, Azmae Turner, and Katie Garringer each recorded two kills apiece to help the Argylls trim the Raiders’ lead to 14-10 midway through the set, but any time that momentum seemed to be shifting, Wapahani, or the Argylls themselves, would squash it. Cook finished with five more kills for Wapahani, while the Raiders, as a team, collected five service aces.
In the third set, the real Madison-Grant re-emerged, battling with the Raiders point after point as they did in their first matchup back in September. Kills by Garringer and Holmberg, together with an Alexis Baney ace and a pair of Wapahani errors, put the Argylls up 7-6, and a 6-0 run put the Argylls up 13-8 at the halfway point.
However, the Raiders’ offense continued to hum. After Madison-Grant’s 6-0 surge, the Raiders outscored the Argylls 14-6, as Wise, Brewer, and Macie Bowden combined for five kills. Additionally, the Raiders recorded three more aces.
The Argylls battled right to the end, cutting the Raiders’ lead to just one point late, but three straight kills from Wise sealed the deal, securing Wapahani’s second straight regional championship.
Holmberg led Madison-Grant with eight kills and 13 digs, while Garringer finished right behind her with eight terminations. Gabby Rudy dished out 14 assists and two aces, while Baney collected seven blocks.
While Jump was disappointed with how the season ended, the Argylls 2020 campaign was certainly a successful one. After a slow beginning, the Argylls finished with a 24-12 record, winning their first Grant Four and sectional championships in four years in the process.
Argylls’ core group, including Garringer, Holmberg, Baney, Turner, Rudy, and Daya Greene, will also be back next year, which provides
is a bevy of optimism that their success will continue next fall.
And their head coach is confident they will be back.
“Going into next year, I think we have an opportunity to really take off from where we are here,” Jump said.
In the regional semifinal match earlier in the day, the Argylls dominated Carroll, sweeping them in three sets (25-15, 25-12, 25-13). Turner finished with 15 kills, while Baney and Garringer each collected 10. Holmberg led the defensive effort with nine digs, while Rudy recorded 32 assists.