Lady Knights fall to Bishop Moore 3-1, end season in State Semis
Lady Knights fall short in State Semifinal match for fourth year in a row.
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If there’s one word to describe Robinson volleyball, it’s consistent. For the past three years, the Lady Knights (26-8) have claimed the regional title before falling to Bishop Moore (23-7) in the 6A State Semifinals. This year proved to be no different when the Lady Knights fell to the Hornets 4-1 in their final game of the season on Saturday, Nov. 11.
“They make it to this spot every year and I really wanted to push them over the edge,” head coach Ashley “AJ” Johnson said. “I’m kind of disappointed in myself that we couldn’t do that. But that’s just something to work toward next year.”
Although the Lady Knights already had enough on their plates by playing the same team who had swept them for three years in a row, their starting middle hitter, Jada Flannigan (’18) fractured her tibia just six minutes prior to the start of the game. Flannigan’s blocks played a crucial part in the regional final game, and the starting lineup was missing a prominent piece without her.
“It was a lot of pressure stepping in for Jada,” said Mileena Wilkins (’18), who took Flannigan’s spot at middle hitter. “She is a really great player and I wanted to live up to her expectations and carry through for the team. We fell short but still did a great job.”
Unlike the previous three years, the Lady Knights were able to win a set, not losing in a straight sweep. Both teams played competitively throughout the game, with the score going back and forth in the first three sets. The Lady Knights fought hard in all four sets, but fell short 25-23, 20-25, 25-23 and 25-12.
Starting from the first set, there was no clear standout team. The Lady Knights took the lead from the Hornets midway through the first set before Bishop Moore snatched it right back, taking the first set. After trailing 4-1 in the second set, key hits from Mila Yarich (’21) put them over the top, giving them the eventual win. The third set was similar to the first one, with Bishop Moore taking the early lead, Robinson taking the advantage away, and then the Hornets sealing the deal. That set had 12 ties overall.
But the fourth set was a rough set for the Lady Knights, who trailed 13-5 midway through. Robinson’s play in that set did not improve by much, as they lost by a 13 point margin.
“We weren’t going down without a fight but we had to fight tooth and nail, point for point for point,” Johnson said. “But when you are playing a team that is at your level or better than you and you get a five-point spread like we did in the fourth set, you have to play like LeBron (James) in order to get it back, and we didn’t have that edge.”
Yarich led the team with 11 kills, followed by Kristin Werdine (’19) with eight. Defensively, Wilkins and Christiana Rolack (’18) both led the team in blocks, although they weren’t enough to stop the Hornets’ attackers. Two Bishop Moore hitters are committed to SEC schools, University of Florida and University of Kentucky.
With this season now behind them, it’s time for the Lady Knights to work towards a new description for next season.