Merrill Varsity Volleyball season summary; awards
BY TINA L. SCOTT
The Merrill Varsity Girls Volleyball Team wrapped up their season on Oct. 19, 2023, after the second round of Regionals “against the very tough team, Waupaca Comets,” Head Varsity Volleyball Coach Kasie Holt said. “Obviously the unfortunate part of playoffs is once you lose, you’re done,” she said. “Our first set was a final score of 31-33. For those of you that don’t know, a volleyball game typically goes to 25 points, where you have to win by two points. I can honestly say that the first set was the most intense game of volleyball I’ve ever coached. In the second set, we had the lead for quite some time, but Waupaca started gaining momentum.”
“In the third set, their outside hitter, Carlson, started to shine,” Holt said. “Carlson played all the way around and was making very few errors at that point, and we had a difficult time shutting her down. Carlson forced us to be in constant defense mode, which was different from our first set when we were the ones putting the ball down.”
“Merrill played with their whole hearts, the whole time, but we just couldn’t defend that Waupaca outside,” she said. “I know that the score shows a loss, but in so many ways, it was a win for us.”
The Merrill Lady Jays ended their season 19-15.
“This was my first season as a Head Coach,” Holt said, “but I feel like nothing truly prepares you for that season-ending game. You always have the hope of continuing on and potentially ending your season at the State Tournament. You don’t want the season to end; you have to say goodbye to your Seniors.”
“This loss was extra tough for me,” she said, “because we are losing 10 Seniors. They will all be greatly missed.”
On the positive side, there were so many positives in the team’s final game of the season. In addition to their intense level of play, the fans brought it for the girls.
“Even though we were on the road for this match, it felt like we were right at home,” Holt said. “Merrill fans. Showed. Up.”
“We had an amazing student section,” she said. “Our parents, family, friends were all in the stands that night. The support we had and the intensity that our fans brought was unmatched.”
“The things that we had been working on all season–serving strong, blocking, maintaining high energy, celebrating every point, supporting your teammates–we did all of those things that night,” Holt said. “So again, even though the score showed a loss and we all left the gym that night with tears in our eyes, it was a match I don’t think any of us will ever forget. I know I won’t.”
Members of the Merrill Varsity Girls Volleyball Team were also recently recognized for their performance and achievements this season. See photos for awards and recognition.