After 2-0 start, a crushing loss flipped momentum for the Manhattan High volleyball team Saturday.
Manhattan had a strong start to its five-match home slate of games Saturday, which also was the team’s senior day.
The Indians won their first two matches of the day. But the hosts experienced a crushing defeat, in three sets, to Thomas More Prep in their third match. MHS lost its final two matches in straight sets.
In the first match against Olathe East, Manhattan dropped the first set, 16-25, but bounced back to capture Set 2, 26-24, and Set 3, 25-19, to win the match.
In the Indians’ second match, versus Centennial League rival Topeka High, they walked away with a straight-sets victory, 25-13, 25-9.
“The morning was really good,” MHS head coach Krista Skucius said. “A lot of things we have been specifically working on in practice, they demonstrated that. It is showing. So I was really pleased with (the first two matches).”
The third match against Thomas More Prep altered the rest of the day for the Indians.
Manhattan High appeared on its way to its third win in as many matches.
But Thomas More pulled out a comeback victory in the third set.
Manhattan had an 18-7 lead, and then a 20-12 advantage. The tide changed from there, as Thomas More Prep went on an 8-2 run to level the set at 22-all. The Indians moved ahead 23-22, but then Thomas More Prep won three of the next four points to take the set (25-23) and the match.
MHS dropped the first set, 24-26. And then it escaped with a 25-23 win in Set 2.
But the Indians weren’t able to hold on to their final-set lead.
“We had trouble executing on our side, just making sure we got the side out. “We let them get on a little bit of a run,” said Skucius, specifically praising Thomas More Prep’s Emilee Lane. “ She came to the front row. Had we kept her in the back row and finished out (Thomas More Prep probably would not have come back). She rotated to the front and had some good swings. We could not stop her.”
Manhattan went into its lunch break to prepare for its final two matches of the day. The break could have given a chance to regroup, but Skucius admitted her team had a difficult time getting over the blown lead to Thomas More Prep.
“For anybody, that is a tough loss to come back from,” Skucius said. “I was hoping lunch break would clear it out for us and be able to just move on. They worked so hard and fought hard, to have the lead and lose after that was pretty tough.”
Manhattan didn’t win a single set after the break.
In the fourth match, against Bishop Miege, the Indians fell 17-25, 10-25.
In the final outing of the day, versus Shawnee Heights, Manhattan lost 15-25, 19-25.
Despite the way the team finished, Skucius said she still saw positives from the busy day, particularly the way the Indians played in the first two matches and most of the matchup against Thomas More Prep.
Skucius said that she believes her team is “getting better” every time it steps on the court.
“I keep telling them, ‘Now is the time we need to be (strong),’” Skucius said. “We continue to get better. Peaking at the right time of the season is what we are talking about with them.
“When we were in our huddle at the end, I said, ‘The team at the beginning of the day is the team that people will remember.’ We just talked about that, because they did really well in those first three matches.”