Indians’ season ends with loss to Eastern

Back on August 17, Mississinewa began their season with a five-set triumph over the Eastern Comets.

On Tuesday, the Comets enacted their revenge, ending the Indians’ season in the process.

Eastern attackers Loralei Evans and Kate Harrison combined for 38 kills in the match, and struggles in the second set, combined with too late of a rally in the third, doomed the Indians in a 3-0 loss (22-25, 16-25, 23-25) in the Sectional 24 opener at Maconaquah.

Evans, after recording 27 terminations the first time these two teams met, was equally as impressive on Tuesday, posting 20 kills. Harrison, who finished with six kills in the first matchup, collected 18. The duo continuously attacked the soft zone in the Mississinewa defense with resounding success, and the Indians struggled to stop them throughout the evening.

Carly Bolser finished the contest with 13 kills, five of which came in the third set, while Mackenzie Austin collected seven terminations and Mia Catey added five.

Both teams battled back and forth in the first set, with neither gaining much of an advantage in the early stages. The Comets built a 10-5 on three Mississinewa hitting errors and two Rice kills, but the Indians answered with a 9-2 run, which featured kills from Bolser, Darah Watson, and Danielle Joseph, allowed Mississinewa to grab a 14-12 lead.

The Indians, however, were unable to hang on to their momentum.

Behind 10 combined terminations – five each for Evans and Rice – the Comets embarked on a 14-8 surge to win the first set 25-22.

While Evans and Rice continued to dissect the Indians’ defense, Mississinewa struggled with errors in the second set. Of Eastern’s 25 points, 10 of them came on Mississinewa miscues.

The Comets built a slim 7-5 and 11-8 advantage early, but quickly began to pull away, using an 8-3 run to increase their lead to seven points at 19-12. Rice compiled four kills during the run, including three straight.

Mississinewa cut the lead to 21-16, but the Comets scored four straight points to grab a two-set advantage.

The Indians got off to a strong start in the final set, building a 6-4 lead with a pair of kills from Austin, an ace by Jazzy Nicholson, and a termination from Bolser. However, an ensuing 7-0 run by the Comets sealed the Indians’ fate. Mississinewa battled in the set’s latter stages, cutting Eastern’s lead to one point on two separate occasions, but the Comets held on to advance to the Sectional 24 Semifinal, where they will face off against the Oak Hill Golden Eagles.

On the season, Bolser finished with 208 kills, which lead the team, while Darah Watson collected 156 terminations. Sophie Corey led the defense with 382 digs, while Nicholson led the offense with 333 assists.

Tuesday night marked the end of the high school careers of Kylie Smalley, Kaycee Sands, Watson, and Katy Hosier. During their tenure, the Indians won 79 matches, including three straight Grant Four championships in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Mississinewa ends the season with a 18-13 record.

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