Volleyball falls to Hannibal in districts

Tyler Dunlap

(From left) Junior Jessica Lambert, senior Katelyn Race and sophomore Sophie Cunningham push hard for a comeback against Hannibal. Photos by Rachel Kiehne
Tonight, Oct. 23, the RBHS volleyball team played in the district championship against longtime rival, Hannibal. Hannibal defeated RBHS 25-21, 25-13 and 25-21.  After smashing Hickman High School yesterday in their first game of districts 25-17 and 25-3, Bruin girls looked forward to furthering their post season journey. Their intensity flared even before the match started, with both sides of the crowd ranting and cheering, tiring to outdo each other.
Hannibal took a quick lead and looked in control of the first match, but after a rally from RBHS, the two teams seemed to be very evenly matched.  After the game reached 12-11 in favor of Hannibal, both teams went back and forth scoring on each other. As the set reached its end, Hannibal started to pull away and ended the first match 25-21.
“We knew that we really had to come out strong on the second game and we really had to play our own game rather than play with Hannibal,” senior Katelyn Race said. “We had to dictate the pace of the game. We knew that because when we dictate the pace of the game, we get a lot more kills.”
The second game seemed to go in the exact opposite direction. RBHS took an initial lead and kept the momentum of the game going their way. Although Hannibal came close to coming back, RBHS held on to the lead to tie 1-1 with a score of 25-13.
In the third game, intensity was at its peak. Sounds of chanting fans, screaming phrases of encouragement and rallying cries of energy filled the gymnasium. The sound of shoes squeaking against the floor and players diving on the hardwood only invigorated fans to yell louder. The game was another back and forth with multiple momentum switches. Towards the end of the match Hannibal started to pull away to end the game 25-18. The loss was hard, especially after such a tough battle.
“I know that we really put out a lot on that court and we hustled,” Race said. “But because it was such a rough match, we ran out of hustle at the end. We never gave up, but we ran out of steam to make good plays because we were all getting worn out from trying so hard.”
Although RBHS couldn’t end with a win, they know they gave it their best effort. For some players on the team, they still have a chance to redeem themselves next year.
“I’m sad that the season is over but we have one more year to show off what our team can do,” junior Madison Boyken said. “I’m keeping my head up and looking forward to next season.”
However, with the end of the season comes the end of a high school career for two of the players on the team. Race, one of the two seniors, said losing the game was hard, especially since it was the last game she will play in high school, but she looks forward to playing in college. One thing Race will miss the most is the camaraderie she built with her teammates throughout this season.
“We all win together, we all lose together,” Race said. “After the game we were all upset. It wasn’t  that we were separated [from each other] and were upset with each other, we stood in a group and talked to each other and talked each other through it.”
By Tyler Dunlap