Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune Seniors Jurnee Peña and Emily Kingland hug and shed tears after the Bulldogs' loss to Kuemper Catholic in the first round of the state tournament Thursday in Cedar Rapids.

Third ranked team knocks out Dogs

Published 7:35pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

 

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CEDAR RAPIDS – “Another year, just unbelievable,” Lake Mills head volleyball coach Jim Boehmer said after the Bulldogs were edged out of the Class 2A state volleyball tournament Thursday.

Being as much as 11 points down in their match against third seeded Kuemper Catholic the Lake Mills girls’ volleyball team pushed its playing to the limits to come back on a high note as the season came to an end.

The Bulldogs lost once again in the first round of the state tournament at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, but went down fighting.

Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune Lake Mills' volleyball head coach Jim Boehmer celebrates with his arms and legs when the Bulldogs made a comeback and took the lead in the middle of Game 3 against Kuemper Catholic Thursday in Cedar Rapids.

They won Game 1 25-20 and jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the second set, but Kuemper Catholic lit up and finished Game 2 25-14.

In the third set, Kuemper Catholic got off to a 9-5 lead when the Bulldogs went on a four point run to take their first lead 10-9. The set went back and forth as Kuemper Catholic took back the lead 14-11 followed by another run by the Bulldogs. This time, a seven point run that put them 18-14. Unfortunately for Lake Mills, Keumper Catholic wanted the set just as bad. They went on a five point run which eventually led to a Bulldogs loss 25-22.

In the fourth and what turned out to be the final match, the Bulldogs did the same. They worked their way back from a 14-8 deficit and a 22-15 deficit to only lose by two points as Kuemper Catholic closed out the match with a 25-23 win.

With the final point scored, the Bulldogs shed tears and hugged one another.

Lake Mills fans screamed from the arena seating, “We’re still proud!”

“The girls are disappointed because they feel like there was still a goal they didn’t reach,” Boehmer said. “We don’t raise these girls to set low expectations and we don’t raise them to be OK with not meeting a goal. We raise them to work hard, set their goals high and put all their heart and emotion into it and when you don’t reach that, it hurts.”

The pain the girls were feeling Thursday night Boehmer attributed to the season being over, not necessarily the end of the state trip.

“We’re done playing volleyball,” Boehmer said. “We’re 133-4 in the last three years so to say to the seniors it might be hard to lose, well they have a hard time knowing what that means.”

The Bulldogs were confident going in to their first round match against Kuemper Catholic, but they knew it wasn’t going to be a breeze either.

“We saw who they played with during the year and we were scared,” Boehmer said. “I was worried about it, and for an obvious reason.”

The most important thing to Boehmer was that the girls didn’t quit when they were down. They played the remaining sets and they played hard.

“That to me is one of the highlights of my year from the standpoint of, we were down and we could have quit and we didn’t,” Boehmer said. “It’s not about getting pushed down. It’s about getting back up and the girls did that. I’m as proud of the fourth set as I am the conference title, getting to state and being 43-0 in regular season.”

After the match, the girls were already talking in the locker room about a return trip. It will be something that needs to be built on because the Bulldogs will lose 11 seniors this year, but they want to be back.

“Our seniors said, “Girls, you will be back here. You’re going to bring yourself back and we’ll be watching you,’” Boehmer said. “The juniors said, “We will be. We’re going to come back for you guys. We will work hard because we don’t want to let you down.’”

That was just what Boehmer wanted to hear.

“You can’t ask for anything else,” Boehmer said. “Wow. When they say stuff like that, I just sit there and as an adult, I think, they understand. They got it. They understand life and they understand team.”

 

 

LM stats: MacKenzie Bauman 19-19 serving, 8 digs; Brook Groe 6 kills, 13-14 serving, 3 ace serves, 3 block assists; Randi Dilly 7 assists, 10-10 serving, 1 ace serve, 6 digs; Emily Kingland 5 kills, 1 assist, 5 block assists; Carlie Christianson 5 kills, 16 assists, 10-10 serving, 1 ace serve, 1 block, 8 block assists, 5 digs; Kelci Larson 5 kills, 10-11 serving, 1 block, 9 block assists, 11 digs; Brooke Hagen 3 kills, 5 assists, 1 block assist; Megan Johnson 8 kills, 1 block, 2 block assists, 1 dig; Hallie Erdahl 1 assist, 21-21 serving, 1 ace serve, 16 digs