Tyrone volleyball coach Mike Kraft was expecting a lot more last night from his team’s Mountain League showdown with Penns Valley at the Tyrone Area Middle School gymnasium.
This was a big game, both for the conference race and for playoff standings.
But there’s a chance the Lady Eagles didn’t give it the focus it demanded.
Tyrone was blown out in the first set, regrouped and began to compete in the second and third, and then was overwhelmed in the fourth on the way to a 3-1 loss that dropped the team to tenth place in the district playoff race.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” said Kraft, whose team had beaten the Lady Rams just a couple of weeks ago in a practice match. “It kind of felt like the girls thought we’d beat them just because we beat them in a scrimmage a few weeks back. We got outworked.”
That’s quite a statement coming from a coach who prides his program on its work ethic, but it’s hard to argue. Valley was ready to go from the start, dominating the first set for a 25-12 win.
The Lady Eagles nearly tied the match in the second before falling 25-20, but showed some life in the third with a 25-17 win.
The match was still up for grabs at that point, and after two strong sets Kraft was feeling like the Lady Eagles could take it to a fifth set, but the Lady Rams dashed those hopes with a 25-11 win in the fourth.
While the Lady Eagles play plenty of underclassmen, they’re led by a strong core of seniors, which made the ease of Valley’s win surprising for Kraft.
“We lack a competitive edge in big games,” he said. “I tell the kids that energy is created by effort. We lacked energy tonight and let the other team have all of it in the games we lost.”
Makenna Bauer shined for the Lady Eagles with 15 kills and 10 digs. Reagan Irons led the team with 12 service points.
The loss dropped Tyrone to 2-3.
Tyrone’s junior varsity team continued to roll, winning 2-0 with a pair of 25-23 wins.