Up two sets to none heading into the third set on Thursday night, all the Sting needed to do was win one more set, and Spectrum would win to close out senior night on a high note.
Instead, Onamia roared back from the brink after being down two sets to none to win. The Panthers won the third set 25-22, the fourth 25-20 and the fifth 15-12. Onamia is now 9-4-0 this season, while Spectrum is 13-9-0.
Head coach Erika Kelly said the Sting got too comfortable up two sets to none.
“That gave them enough momentum to take it into a fourth set,” Kelly said. “Then we started getting tired. That affects your execution when you start getting tired.”
Spectrum won the first set 25-12 and the second 25-15 before the Panthers rallied. Thursday’s game was the first time this season that the Sting lost a game after holding a two-set advantage heading into the third set.
Setter Kaylee Betzler said Spectrum will need to learn from this game as the regular season winds down and the Sting battle for a postseason berth.
“Executing on all parts of the game is what we needed to do at the end,” Betzler said. “There were some mental errors that we were making that we need to clean up a bit.”
Before the game, Spectrum honored its three seniors: Betzler, middle hitter Ellie Steinle and defensive specialist Elise Berry. Each senior gathered with family members and received flowers.
Kelly said she will miss all of the seniors, especially Betzler. At Spectrum, each senior is required to complete a community service project. Betzler chose to hold a canned food drive this summer as well as a free, one-day volleyball camp for anyone who brought donations. She raised nearly $500.
“The way [the seniors] treat the younger players in our program may be my favorite piece,” Kelly said. “They look after them like big sisters and support them all the way through.”
Spectrum will play St. Croix on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Stillwater. The Sting’s most recent game against the Lions was a 3-1 loss on Sept. 20, 2018.
Onamia will face Braham on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Panthers lost to the Bombers 3-1 on Sept. 4, 2018.