SALADO — The choppiness of the waves proved too much for the Salado volleyball team overcome.
And with nothing but pride left to play for, the Lady Eagles couldn’t handle Cameron Yoe’s swell and saw their season wiped out.
“It seemed like when it stopped and the points weren’t going our way, then everything else fell apart,” Salado senior Jenna Franz said. “And we needed everything we could get and they weren’t giving it to us.”
Already out of the playoffs after dropping two straight, Salado caved under the Lady Yoe’s pressure attack of Shantacious Dohnalik and Kausion Wells to the sound of 42 errors in a 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 sweep to visiting Cameron.
“This is probably the first match all year that we’ve put it all together,” said Lady Yoe coach Linda Richter.
Nothing seemed to go Salado’s way this season, beginning with a devastating wrist injury to leading hitter and team captain Sarah Toler during the first round of district play.
Salado’s (18-19, 7-7 22-2A) struggles only seemed to snowball as of late, capped off in a topsy-turvy Game 3 that proved a microcosm of the it’s recent tailspin with 17 total errors, many unforced hitting errors.
“At the end of the game, we could feel it was the end ... and so we went out there and knew we had to fight, but at times we kind of got distracted and had points that didn’t go our way,” Franz said.
Cameron took advantage and jumped ahead 6-0 on five Lady Eagles errors before Salado coach Rachel Lee called a timeout.
The move seemed to work as Salado rallied to tie and even take a 10-8 lead on a kill by Franz and an ace from Shyenne Hicks to cap a 10-2 surge. But following every surge is a lull, and the Lady Eagles couldn’t stop it once it started as the Lady Yoe pulled ahead 16-14 on a Dohnalik kill after three straight Salado errors.
“You want to be as clean as possible, but with hitting errors, you’re trying so hard to get the play up and then you hit it in the net,” Franz added. “It’s just like disheartening because when it hits the floor, all you think is, ‘Oh man, I could have gotten that up.’”
Mistakes continued to pile up while the Lady Yoe continued to pile it on, scoring on four of the final five serves, including back-to-back deflections off Hicks and Tori Laughland.
“When you’re playing someone who has you off balance, or does something faster than you do — even though in your brain you want to do the right thing, you’re not quite there yet,” Lee said.
The match’s most glaring separation came on defense with Yoe out-digging Salado 66 to 18. Cameron libero Nicole Keratsopoulos led everyone with 20 digs, followed by 15 from Sierra Flemings and, almost double the Lady Eagles’ leader with Katie Kunz’s seven.
“I thought we did a great job on defense,” Richter said. “Some matches we haven’t but this match we played really well. We knew where they were going to hit it and we were there.”
Dohnalik led the Lady Yoe with 16 kills and 13 digs, Kausion Wells added 20 assists, 11 kills and two aces while Jayci Rhoades had 16 assists and four aces.
Franz and Madi DePriest led Salado with four kills apiece while Hanah Perkins added 10 assists on just 17 total kills.