The JPII volleyball team faced a tall order in facing Brentwood Academy on Tuesday for Senior Night. The Eagles are in second place in the Division II-AA East/Middle Region with only one loss.
Unfortunately for the Knights and their four seniors, Brentwood Academy proved too powerful, winning the match 3-0 (25-6, 25-15, 25-19).
"I think our kids were a little intimidated in that first game," JPII Coach Kim Shaver said. "We had a lot of unforced errors. Those are fixable errors and we made adjustments. That's something we've been working on all year."
In the second and third games of the match, the Knights did a better job of controlling the ball and were more competitive, according to Shaver.
In the first game, the Knights were behind 6-0 before scoring their first point, and were never closer than five points the rest of the game.
The Knights got off to a better start in Game 2, leading 10-6 before Brentwood Academy scored seven points in a row to take the lead at 13-10. The Eagles outscored JPII 12-5 the rest of the way to take the second game 25-15.
In the third game, JPII fell behind 6-1 early, but fought back to trail 9-10 and 11-12 before Brentwood Academy started pulling away again on its way to a 25-19 win to secure the match.
The loss dropped JPII's record to 15-25, but the 15 wins are a big improvement over last year's eight wins.
"I'm really proud of that," Shaver said. "Across the board we've made a lot of progress."
At the conclusion of the season, the team will say goodbye to four seniors, Gracey King, McKenzie Guinn, Abby Eden and Reanna McNair.
"We're so sorry to see our seniors go because they worked so hard to get to 15 wins," Shaver said.
But she is excited about the progress the team's younger players have made this season. Against Brentwood Academy, two juniors, Alison Gerstner and Celeste Williams, and three freshmen, Emily Chronister, Lillie VanMetre and Emily Slaughter joined the seniors in the lineup.
"A good portion of the match we had three freshmen on the court," Shaver said. "I'm seeing a lot of hustle and aggressiveness and determination.
"We have focused on the process and I feel like we've learned a lot about being smart players. At this level, you have to be smart" to recognize opportunities to score as the match progresses."
The Knights' regular season was to end on Wednesday in a region match against Father Ryan High School. On Tuesday, they will start the playoffs against Brentwood Academy.