QUINCY -- The Quincy High School volleyball team had its eyes locked in on advancing to the gold bracket in the 44th annual Quincy High School volleyball invitational, and after opening pool play Saturday morning with back-to-back two-set victories all that it needed was a victory over Fort Zumwalt West.
Unfortunately that win never came, as the Blue Devils were swept by the Jaguars 25-23, 25-21 and sent into the silver bracket.
That loss stuck with the QHS girls and carried into their first round match of the silver bracket, where they dropped the first set to Macomb 25-13. The Blue Devils eventually bounced back to take the second set but in the third they fell into a big hole again and weren't able to climb out, losing the match 25-13, 22-25, 15-9.
QHS coach Tim Hill said his team just wasn't able to work out of a funk.
"The girls are starting to mentally drain, and we are trying to figure it out, trying to figure out how we can slow things down for them and get things back on track," he said. "It's been hard trying to find their mental state right now, but it is what it is. It's just a very long season."
QHS started the day with a 25-10, 25-12 win over Springfield East and a 25-23, 25-15 win over Hannibal before falling to Fort Zumwalt West.
Hill said the loss to the Bombers was because the team let their close one at the end linger.
"The girls' minds were really focused on not being in the gold bracket," he said. "They were kind of going through the motions, and we got a lot of unlucky bounces. I was trying to keep their minds up."
After the loss, the Blue Devils had a long talk in the locker room before emerging, which Hill thought was encouraged by.
"I think we will get there, the girls had a nice, long conversation between themselves and I think they will be in a good shape come next week," he said.
In the final match, senior Alexis Wolf finished with five kills and two blocks, while Emma Sparrow had four kills and two blocks. Hill said it will be up to that leadership at the top to get the momentum rolling again.
"This is going to be a lot of team-led stuff of finding out where our fire is going to come from," he said. "They had it early, and I think having a new coach helped that, but now that they are used to my style of coaching and where everything should be its, ‘where can I find the passion.' I think the seniors are going to step up big and find that passion for everybody."
Fort Zumwalt West advanced to the finals of the gold bracket but was eventually defeated by Freeburg.
Hannibal was third in the pool and advanced to the bronze bracket, where it won the first round 25-13, 23-25, 15-13 over Glenwood and was victorious in the championship 25-22, 25-20 against Jacksonville. Bella Falconer had seven kills in each of the final two matches.