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Monarchs lose to Ellis

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Everything was unraveling for the Thomas More Prep-Marian volleyball team in the third set against Ellis on Tuesday, the Monarch's only home match of the season.

Trailing 18-7 in the set and 2-0 in the match, TMP had little reason to keep fighting. The Monarchs went on to lose the final set and the match, but in the process earned a small victory of sorts after rallying back from the 11-point deficit.

"I see a victory out of what they saw they could do on their own," TMP coach Natausha Dreher said. "They saw they can be that team. They saw that they can fight past what their mind tells them they can. They did have a victory in seeing how far they can push themselves and how competitive they could be. In that there is a victory."

Ellis (16-7) won the match 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 31-29) but had its share of obstacles to get there. Their resolve was tested as well in the third set, one that even had both benches on edge as if was a fifth set.

"Volleyball is such a game of momentum. We were up by a huge lead and they came back, but they didn't come back hard right away," Ellis coach Ellen Dreyer said. "It's like they would come back with four points, and we would get a point, then they would come back with four points. I don't know. I got to give it to them. They fought hard and pushed through. It was exciting."

TMP trailed 12-1 in the third set and then 18-7 when the rally started. A 4-0 run followed a 5-0 run to make it 21-16 in Ellis' favor. At 24-22 it looked like the rally would fall short, but a service error by Ellis gave TMP life, and the Monarch's managed to tie the set at 24.

"We just had a couple of plays where we got a lot of momentum and we kept through it. It was just one little mistake that can mess it up," TMP junior Kaylor Gottschalk said. "It just clicked for us at that time. We were lucky for it to happen."

The teams went back and forth, with the Monarchs even taking a 27-26 lead. But Ellis battled back and a hitting error on TMP gave the set to Ellis, 31-29.

"When you fight two points at a time it gets really intense," Ellis senior Kaleigh Soneson said.

"We just had to keep our heads up and not give up. it was very tough. TMP is a good opponent for us. We just had to believe in ourselves and had to think good and know where to place the ball."

Ellis understands what it's like to come back from a big deficit after doing much the same in the second set.

TMP led 15-5 when Soneson would temporarily leave the court for Ellis after tweaking her ankle on a hard fall.

The Railroaders rallied around Soneson's absence and would come back to win the set 25-22.

"We are a pretty close team and when one of our players goes down we kind of hit hard," Dreyer said. "When we called that timeout we said, 'Do it for Kaleigh,' and they came back. They love their team and will do whatever it takes to win."

The first set was all Ellis, which led 11-4 and rolled to an easy 25-18 win.

The loss sends TMP to 4-21 on the season, but the Monarchs were hardly a four-win team on Tuesday against Ellis. There were many "Uh oh" moments according to Dreher, but the third-set rally helped take the ease out of the 3-0 loss.

"They are learning that they have all the knowledge and they have all the ability and when they believe in themselves they can accomplish anything," Dreher said.

"These girls, not at a single point this year, have stopped growing. If anything their growth has accelerated toward this part of our season.

"This is the ideal situation we want to be in -- continuing to grow and continuing to battle."

TMP will continue its season on Oct. 12 at the Scott City Invitational.