The Mayfield High girls' volleyball came out strong against Whittier Christian for the Division II-A quarterfinals at home on Saturday.
Unfortunately, that initial fire waned, turning what started out as a hopeful night into a disappointing evening.
Top-seeded Whittier Christian defeated Mayfield in four games, 19-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-22.
Mayfield Coach Jon Basilio was happy with his team's effort.
"This was the final," Basilio said of the quarterfinal showdown. "Let's not mistake that. This was the final and the better team won."
Mayfield started out strong in the first game, winning going away, 25-19.
"I think we came out with a lot of fire," said Cubs junior Lauren Baxter.
However, that fire flamed out in the second game. The Heralds came out like gangbusters, establishing a 9-0 lead early before cruising to the 25-13 victory.
"I really do believe that in sports, that emotional high also comes with an emotional low," Basilio said in comparing the first two games. "I think our biggest concern throughout that match was trying to find out how to maintain what we established in the first set. I don't even think it necessarily was competition on the other side of the court. But for us to sustain that kind of competition, that competition in terms of execution, that first set was a lot of stress for any team to have."
The third and pivotal game was in contrast to the first two. The two squads locked horns for 12 ties in that game alone. The Cubs even had a 19-18 advantage late, before the Heralds went on a 7-3 run to close out the third game, 25-22.
The fourth game was more like the second, with Whittier Christian (33-4) jumping out to an early 7-1 lead. Mayfield climbed back to close to within 24-22 before losing 25-22.
Before the match Basilio had hoped that experience would pave the way for a Mayfield victory. The Cubs boast nine seniors on their roster, four of them starters. Whittier Christian's entire starting lineup features nothing but juniors.
"I don't know if it was the junior cohesiveness, but I felt like we knew what was at stake and I think they played a lot more loosely," Basilio said. "They had nothing to lose. We had everything to prove. We just came from a lower division. That was not a problem for us."
Josie Luck led Mayfield with 13 kills, while Maggie Dunn and Baxter each at 10. Madeline Watkins added 23 assists.
Whittier Christian was paced by Deanna Blaine with 19 kills and Jennifer Washle with 49 assists.
Mayfield finishes the season at 22-7. Though the Cubs lose a number of seniors next year, the squad will have a number of returners such as Baxter.