SNOWFLAKE — Nothing hurts more than being on the verge of winning the championship, then losing.

Such was the fate of Snowflake’s volleyball team on Saturday.

The Lobos hurt themselves with many costly errors. The hardest to swallow were the missed serves. Each game they missed at least five serves in each set, either going straight into the net or out of bounds deep.

Missing that many serves is a potential 10-point swing in each set because in volleyball an unforced error gives the other team a point and robs your team of potential scores.

Snowflake started the first set strong behind a powerful start from Macee LeSueur. Midway through the set, the score was 13-7. LeSueur had already scored four points to that point. Addy Fisher got a block and Snowflake was feeling good.

Then something happened and the Lobos started playing sloppily or perhaps panicked. They completely missed the ball on hits and sets.

They allowed Chandler Valley Christian to score five straight points, and the opposing outside with Korah Nordin got rolling. She led her team to a 21-18 advantage.

Snowflake fought back. LeSueur got a couple hits in, and Braxton Jones got a setter dump that temporarily staved off defeat.

It was too little too late, however, and the Trojans took the set 25-21.

In the second set, Snowflake looked determined to stay with Valley Christian. The Lobos matched everything their opponents could throw at them. Despite Valley Christian serving and hitting long, Snowflake failed to turn its opponent’s errors into a Snowflake scoring streak.

Instead, the Lobos matched the errors with mistakes of their own.

The critical second match saw multiple ties at 11-11, 15-15, and 20-20. The Lobos won a huge rally to tie the set, but couldn’t make anything happen from the service area.

The Trojans stepped up in that moment and ended the game scoring five of the last six points. The final score, once again, was 25-21.

Being down two sets to none is the type of situation that is culture-defining. Will a team crumble and fall apart or step up and fight back?

Snowflake fought back.

Players like Macey Gardner and Livi Schneider, who were relatively silent in the first two sets, chose that critical moment to attack.

Valley Christian had focused on stopping LeSueur, but the attacks from other positions stunned them and allowed Snowflake to stay in the third match and eventually get ahead 14-10.

Yet in this set, the Trojans made fewer errors. They scored seven straight points and didn’t give away free points on serves as they did in the previous set.

Snowflake called a timeout when down 22-19. The Lobos came out inspired, getting a kill from LeSueur and a block from Fisher. They couldn’t ride that energy further and lost on an ace.

The final score for a third time was 25-21.

Although it felt heartbreaking in the moment, this season was an amazing success and a year the whole team will look back on as a golden year.

Snowflake looks forward to having eight returning varsity players, six of whom are sophomores this year. The future is bright for Lobo volleyball.

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