LYONS — A fantastic season came to a crashing halt for the Alexander girls, who dropped a three-set match in the Class D1 title game to the host Lyons Lions.
Alexander was in search of its first sectional championship since 1998, while the Lions took home their first sectional ‘block’ since 2013.
At the game’s end, the Trojans’ sideline was filled with tears and emotions, as a strong senior class had played their final game under longtime head coach Marcia Hirsch.
“It goes way deeper than volleyball with this group,” said Hirsch. “A lot happened last volleyball season that these girls were here for me, so there is a special connection. I’ve never had a team that had such a special connection and worked as hard as these girls. They were driven every day. All they wanted to do was win today, and unfortunately, we didn’t play very well.”
Alexander dropped the championship match, 25-14, 25-11, 25-12 against a talented, well-coached Lyons squad.
Trojans’ junior Sam Sawyer recorded six digs and three kills, while Kiersten Przybylski finished with 10 assists and a couple of kills. Rylie Merle finished with three kills and a couple of aces. Przybylski and Merle were selected to the All-Tournament team.
“These are good people, they’re good kids,” added Hirsch. “They would do anything for you. I tell them every day that there are a lot of worse things that are going to happen to you than losing a volleyball game.”
For Lyons, junior Karlee Kemp was honored as MVP of Sunday’s championship contest. Kemp consistently set her teammates up to finish points and finished the match with 15 assists. Lyons senior Ella Lester and junior Morgan Verbridge were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
The Lions outmatched the Trojans in size, speed and athleticism, but Alexander matched Lyons’ heart, will and determination despite the lopsided loss.
“This is hard and they’re hurting,” said Hirsch. “But they’ll be ok.”
Lyons wraps up the season at 18-1, while the Trojans finish at 16-2.
“We hadn’t made it back to the finals since I was a senior at Alexander,” said Hirsch, who will watch five seniors walk out the door in the offseason. “To get back this far, it’s pretty hard. We play in a tough class every year, and it’s tough to get this far.”