GREENVILLE — The volleyball season ended too abruptly for the Roxana Shells on Monday at the Class 3A Greenville Regional.
They can tell you about the unforeseen quick finish, though it’s difficult to explain.
The host Comets raced by the Shells, 25-9, 25-17 in a 40-minute match. Greenville, which improved to 16-16, meets Quincy Notre Dame at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Greenville. Roxana finished 14-20.
“It was weird,” Shells’ coach Mike McKinney said, searching for answers. “We had a good practice and we have been playing well lately, but tonight we went flat and lost our confidence. We didn’t show up ready to play.”
The more the Shells struggled, the more the Comets gained assurance in their play. They built an 11-1 advantage the first game and never looked back. Greenville shot ahead 9-3 in the second and increased its lead to 24-12 before surviving a five-point Roxana run and closing out the Shells.
“We came out and did the little things well tonight,” Comets’ coach Alison Hall said. “We executed well and got some momentum going. It was hard for Roxana to get some momentum and confidence when they got down like they did.”
She said the Shells’ play was uncharacteristic of what they can do. Earlier this season, Roxana pushed Greenville to three games before bowing in a South Central Conference match.
“That’s not Roxana at all. We didn’t expect that,” Hall said, in reference to the Shells’ 19 hitting errors. Greenville also benefited in its serving with six aces, so those errors and aces accounted for half of the Comets’ points.
“When we trailed 5-0 early in the first game, we talked about making Greenville earn their points,” McKinney said. “But it kept snowballing for us. We had a lot of hitting and passing errors, something we haven’t had in a while.
“Then, it was hard to stop Greenville’s momentum. Tonight wasn’t our night. It happens.”
Taylor Westfall and Braeden Lackey tried to revive the Shells. Westfall, a junior, supplied five kills and an ace, while Lackey, a sophomore, provided three kills and an ace.
The Comets spread around their scoring wealth. Sophomore Kalie Meadows registered six kills and senior Brianna Wade logged five kills. Senior Taylor Kalous and junior Alex Calvin collected three aces each.
“For our serving and receiving, tonight was one of our better matches of the season,” Hall said. “This win should be a good confidence-builder. We’ll try and do what we did tonight on Tuesday against Quincy Notre Dame.”
Seniors Kara Meyer, Keely Reardon, Katie Herndon and Jordan DiPaolo played their final match for the Shells. McKinney can build around juniors Niah Bevolo, Abby Palen and Westfall, sophomores Brittany Alexander and Lackey, plus freshman Taylor Jackson in 2016.
“We’re looking for our juniors to step up next season,” McKinney said. “We will be in between reloading and rebuilding.”
CM, which defeated East Alton-Wood River in Monday’s second match, tangles with Jacksonville at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the second semifinal. The winners square off at 6 p.m. Thursday in the regional championship match.