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Marion volleyball season ends with gut-wrencher
by Sarah Olberding Editor · November 17th, 2016

The roaring crowd cheered on the Marion volleyball team as they took the court for their final game of the season.

The Marion Indians ended a spectacular season in a gut-wrenching, four-set, first-round game of the State Volleyball Tournament against Cedar Rapids Xavier last Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the U.S. Cellular Center.

Marion and Xavier were neck and neck the entire first set with the point spread staying within two points. Both teams were determined to take the first set as they fought to take the lead. Xavier pulled away to end the set 27-25.

Charlotte Richards from Xavier went on a run with her serves, leaving Marion trailing 4-7. However, in the middle of the set, Marion's front row made Xavier's defense work hard as Isabella Sade, Randi Wright, and Caitlyn Smith defended the net. The Xavier offense ended up taking control of the rest of the second set with a score of 25-18.

Determined to not let Xavier take the third set for the overall win, Marion fired on all cylinders to maintain a five-point lead throughout the set. The Marion setter, Smith, switched up hitters to utilize the amazing skills the front row brought to the third set. Marion started losing momentum as Xavier closed the lead 15-17, and then to tie the game up 20-20. A comeback began to take form as Sade pounded her serves and Morgan Swanger found the back corner in an attack to get Marion the win of the third set 25-22.

The Marion team felt confident going into the fourth set until Xavier's Lexi Noonan went on an eight-point serving streak. Marion's luck began to turn as outside hitter Swanger pounded a kill down the line to get the score to 10-17. Marion kept pushing and challenging Xavier as they closed in at 21-23. A match-point mis-serve by Xavier's Ellie McDermott kept Marion in the hunt of the fourth set and tied it up 24-24. Richards marked the final point as she hammered a kill, giving Xavier the game, 3 sets to 1 and advancing to the second round of the State tournament.

Sade lead the team in 17 kills with Swanger right behind her with 13. Marion's Tanea Westhoff lead both teams in digs with a total of 33, averaging 8.3 per set.

The Marion volleyball team left the court as the crowd chanted, "Thank you seniors," to the seven seniors who have ended their High School volleyball careers.

When asked what they'll remember most of this season, Smith said, "Team chemistry and how much fun we had; we all got along and I give a big shout out to the seniors for always pulling us together in crucial times."

When asked if they had any advice for the future Marion volleyball teams, Sade responded, "Don't take it for granted; go in every game as if it's your last and play with everything you have, every point."

The ending of this season isn't the rest we'll see of Sade as she will continue her volleyball career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "I'm excited to play at the next level," said Sade.
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