Isabella volleyball falls in state quarterfinals

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Isabella played in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state volleyball championship for the fourth-straight year.

“We worked all season to get back here, because we wanted to keep the tradition going,” Isabella senior Kiara Ford said.

However, the Mustangs were unable to advance following a straight-set defeat, 25-12, 25-15, 25-17, to Lindsay Lane Christian Academy at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Oct. 31.

According to Ford, it was the Mustangs’ slow starts that proved the difference in the game.

It took a while for Isabella to find a groove in each of the three games, and the Mustangs had to chase rather than play from the lead as a result.

Lindsay Lane went up 7-3 in the first game, which forced Isabella head coach Glen Graham to call an early timeout.

Isabella came back and took an 11-10 lead following the timeout, but Lindsey Lane responded and closed out the game with a 15-1 scoring run.

Isabella senior Kiara Ford blocks a shot. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

“We didn’t play as strong as we could have in the first game,” Ford said.

The second game was much of the same for the Mustangs, who trailed 15-7 and could only chip away at the deficit.

Lyndsie Johnson made her presence known around the net in the second game with consecutive blocks during a rally, the second of which resulted in a point for Isabella.

However, although the Mustangs hustled throughout the match, there were moments when their passing was off the mark and communication broke down.

“It always starts with the pass, and our passing wasn’t very good today,” Graham said. “I thought this was a team [Lindsay Lane] that we matched up with pretty athletically, had we been able to pass the ball better and get in the system.”

Isabella stormed back from another early deficit in the third game and looked in good shape to extend the match leading 15-13.

But it was not to be, as the momentum suddenly swung back in Lindsey Lane’s favor, and the Mustangs’ state tournament experience came to an end.

Isabella has had its share of volleyball success over the years, but the state championship continues to be a stumbling block for the Mustangs.

The Mustangs take to the court. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

“I wish we could play our best up here [at the state tournament], and I don’t know why we don’t,” Graham said. “Our future is there, but we just have to continue to work.”

The message that Graham shared with the team after the loss; “don’t let this loss define who you are as a person.”

According to Graham, sophomore Kaylee Cummings performed well in her role as libero, while senior Alyssa Wyatt did a good job with her service game.

A large contingent of Isabella students and fans attended the game.

“It’s very comforting to know that people love you and are willing to travel all the way up here to watch us play,” Ford said.