STATE CENTER - While the final score doesn't reflect it, South Tama's volleyball team battled tough here Tuesday night against the host Trojans and tough officiating calls.
South Tama had several mistakes that resulted in points for West Marshall during the three-set match. However, it was the calls by the officials and line judges that stole the night.
During the match, especially the second and third set, South Tama appeared to win nearly a dozen points, only to see those calls go the way of the home squad. A couple of STC kills tipped off of West Marshall players before going out of bounds, but those tips weren't called. The host Trojans won nearly every point where the ball landed near or outside of the back line.
South Tama players, coaches and fans react to a call by an official Tuesday night at West Marshall. The Trojans thought they scored a point when a spike from senior Jade Rohach deflected off of a West Marshall player and went out of bounds. However, the officials ruled there was no deflection and gave the point to the home Trojans. West Marshall won the match in three sets.
"It's very frustrating," STC coach Michelle Bradley said. "It's very frustrating when the coach from the other team says the same thing. He told me, 'You were more calm than I could have been.'"
South Tama lost the first set 25-17 after leading early in the set. STC took out to an 11-8 lead before West Marshall rallied to tie the set at 13-13. West Marshall won the final five points after South Tama served into the net.
STC started the second set with a quick 3-0 lead, behind two aces from junior Samantha Holtz. An ace from junior Trisha Walz, along with a block and kill from senior Jade Rohach helped give STC a 7-1 lead in the set. West Marshall began its comeback after three close calls, including one that had Bradley fuming at the officials because of an uncalled tip by West Marshall.
The home Trojans tied the set at 11-11. The next few points were back and forth until West Marshall took an 18-16 lead. A pair of kills from Holtz tied the set at 20-20, before three-straight STC errors.
South Tama continued to fight after a West Marshall serve into the net. Senior Shelby Bradley served an ace and junior Emily Martin recorded a kill, tying the set 23-23. Facing defeat twice, Walz and Rohach each had kills to tie the set at 24-24 and 25-25. West Marshall won the final two points with a kill and a deep shot that was called in as it hit near the back line.
"That's what made me really proud of them," Bradley said. "They let me take care of that frustration internally and they just played. I think they knew I had their back tonight."
West Marshall used the momentum to start strong in the third set, taking a quick 7-2 lead. Junior Paige Van Dyk had a kill and ace that helped STC climb back into the match, along with a Holtz block. Another block from Martin tied the set at 13-13, before a bad call gave West Marshall the next point and serve.
Rohach spiked a ball that deflected off of a West Marshall player and flew out of bounds. STC celebrated the point and the home team quickly huddled as all volleyball teams do after a point. However, the officials ruled Rohach's kill went out and wasn't touched.
Coach Bradley and the STC fans let the officials know it was a bad call. She was given a warning yellow card for the rest of the match. Despite the call, South Tama continued fighting at later led 20-19 after a Rohach kill.
STC then struggled for a few points. A misscommunication let a ball drop between players. A spike went way out of bounds and STC was called for being in the net. West Marshall won the set 25-23 when STC blocked a spike but the ball landed out of bounds.
"It was a frustrating night overall," coach Bradley said. "But I was pretty proud of the team. They let me take care of the frustration with the refs and side judges and they just played. That's what I liked about they did tonight. I thought their attitudes were so much better than what we've seen. Any other given night with that kind of match and the outcome would have been our way. We lost two tight sets. Any one little swing our way could have been alright."
On Saturday, South Tama traveled to Manchester to play in the West Delaware Tournament. STC began the day against host West Delaware and lost in two sets (21-18 and 21-14). West Delaware eventually won its own tournament without dropping a set during its five matches.
South Tama's next match was against Edgewood Colesburg, who lost a tough three-set match in the semifinals. STC again lost in two sets, falling 21-9 and 21-18.
The Trojans' final match came against Maquoketa Valley. South Tama lost the first set 21-18, but rallied to win the second set 21-13 and force a third set. The final set was close, but STC pulled it out, winning 15-13.
This weekend, South Tama will be at home for its annual home invitational. The matches begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
"It will be nice to be back at home," Bradley said. "The girls just have to survive Homecoming Week."