Holliday Falls In State Semifinals

Holliday's volleyball team entered the Class 2A State Tournament as the underdogs, ranked No. 4 out of four teams.

The Lady Eagles pushed top-ranked Brock to five sets, but fell short as a 7-1 Brock run in the middle of the fifth set pushed the lead too far for the Lady Eagles to reach.

With the loss, Holliday also falls short of its season-long goal of a state championship.

"It's bittersweet," head coach Mindy Patton said. "Very disappointed for this team. They worked really hard to be here. Based on their work ethic, they deserve to go to the next step."

Holliday won a back-and-forth first set 27-25 to start off the match. Senior Morgan Lewis started strong and came up with two huge kills late, while senior Sarah Garfield ended the set with one of her 25 kills for the match.

The two teams played even through 15-15 in the second set. Brock took a slight lead late. A tip point from senior Kristen Anderson cut the lead down to down to 24-22, but then Brock's Kyndall Magyar ended the set with a kill to tie the match at 1-1.

Brock built up a consistent 3-4 point lead early in the third set, and Holliday faced that deficit most of the set. A big block from senior Kimmie Berend trimmed the lead to 18-16, but Brock would pull away late to take the set 25-21.

Brock played well from the outside during the second and third sets. Earlier in the week, Holliday coaches said it would be a battle of Holliday's strong inside game versus Brock's outside game.

"We player their game, and we let them take us out of our game," Lewis said. "We played hard. We faught hard, just something was missing the whole game. That wasn't exactly the Holliday Eagles."

Holliday came out playing Holliday-ball in the fourth set. A Lewis block gave Holliday a 16-12 lead, but Brock reeled off four-straight points, capped off by a block from Bailey Snow.

Brock employed a triple-block formation, attacking the middle throughout the match, something Holliday players and coaches say they've maybe seen once all season long.

Despite the Brock rally, Holliday regrouped, and a pair of Lewis kills ended the set 25-23 in favor of Holliday.

In the fifth, the two teams went back-and-forth early, playing to 4-4 tie. Then, Brock made its run, a 7-1 run to take a commanding 11-5 lead. Brock's Amy Henard sent a two-handed tip to the back corner to seal the deal, 15-7 Brock in the fifth.

Henard led the way with 24 kills for Brock.

Lewis had 30 kills to lead Holliday. Berend has 49 assists. Kelci Bedingfield had 33 digs, while Cassie Kunkel had 24 digs and Tara Henderson added 22 digs.

Lewis, Garfield, Berend, Bedingfield, Kunkel and four other Lady Eagles suited up for the final time.

"I'll remember these girls as a group of girls that wouldn't settle for anything less than the very best," Patton said. "This is the first group of girls I've ever got to bring to a state tournament, and I'll be forever grateful for that."

Holliday finishes the season at 35-7 overall.