Oct. 19, 2019 — Mapleton spiked its last home game volleyball Friday night as the season neared its end.
“I’m so proud of them for coming in and working hard every single day. They just rolled with the punches and went with it,” Coach Molly Dooley said.
The Sailors fought hard against the Eddyville Eagles on Friday, taking the lead at the beginning of the first set, but the Eagles ultimately flew away with the game win, sweeping all three sets.
“Tonight, was a kind of go-with-the-flow type of night,” Dooley said. “We were going with a pretty different lineup for the beginning. We had a whole bunch of newer players getting in there. I think they did a great job keeping up. They had some good plays.”
It’s been a difficult season for the Sailors, beset by injuries, concussions and a young team that was learning its footing.
“Just adversity in general,” said Dooley, explaining that the team was always faced with some sort of new difficulty each and every week. “We were always going ‘Okay, what’s next,’ focusing on that, and dealing with the rest later.”
At its heart, 2019 was a learning season for the Sailors, but the lessons were not lost on the players.
“We just kept getting better and better every week,” Dooley said. “I think that, honestly, the only way to go is up. A whole bunch of our team is coming back next year, and we should come back better and stronger.”
Of the 13 players, the lone graduating senior is Daleena Bender, who was honored before the game for senior night.
Bender’s favorite volleyball memory was practicing together with the team “because they all have fun and laugh a lot,” and her greatest accomplishment was how well the team played together.
Her advice to the rest of the team: Be dedicated, play hard and most importantly, communicate.
“She played a great night,” Dooley said, stating that the returning team, which will have a healthy dose of juniors, as well as some new freshman blood, will be “a strong returning team.”
It’s a returning team that will have battled through one of the toughest years in Mapleton volleyball history, kept their head held high and fought through to the very end.
“I’m proud of them, coming in, and working their hardest,” said Dooley. “Nobody’s going to find a losing season easy. It’s going to have some hard moments, but they’re working through those with grace. I’m just very proud of them.”
Mapleton will play their last two games on Saturday at Triangle Lake. First match begins at 12:30 p.m.