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Gulf Coast falls in 5 at national tourney

Gulf Coast had its hopes of a first national championship dashed on the first day of its first trip to the national tournament Thursday morning in Charleston, W.V.

The No. 6 seed Lady Commodores fell in five sets to 11-seed McHenry County (Ill.) 26-24, 25-20, 18-25, 17-25, 15-11 to fall into the consolation bracket.

They will take on Oakland (Mich.) on Friday at 9:30 p.m. Central Time and with a win would play again at 3:30 p.m. against the winner of No. 15 Montgomery vs. No. 7 Northeast.

A loss would end Gulf Coast’s stay in Charleston.

Should the Lady Commodores win out, they would finish ninth in the tournament, though that’s not quite what they had in mind when they set out for Charleston.

“It was tough,” Gulf Coast coach Scott Allen said of the loss. “We did not play very well at all. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I would say we had probably as many unforced errors in the first two sets as we did if you combined the last five matches we played.

“Maybe we were a little rusty or nervous, I’m not really sure, but we weren’t playing very well.”

Gulf Coast did turn it around and rally back to force a fifth and deciding set, but McHenry closed out the match and moved on to the quarterfinals.

Emma Richards and Rachael Passarello led the Lady Commodores with 14 kills and two blocks each, while Cassidi Gant had 11 kills. Riley Edwards had two blocks and Bailey Hedden two aces.

While they won’t go home with what they wanted, Allen said the Lady Commodores are determined to finish the tournament on a high note.

“We’re excited to finish up,” he said. “There were some tears and some hugs in the hallway, but they’re already talking about finishing the tournament strong, and also when we get back home getting ready for next year.

″(The players) were upset but so was I. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but all in all it was a very good year. I was proud that we didn’t roll over. It would’ve been much easier to give up and complain and point fingers when you go down two sets at the national championship, but instead they fought back and I’m really proud of them.”


 

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