By MICHAEL KINNEY
For the Yukon Review
After a forgettable outing earlier in the week, the Yukon volleyball team took the court Thursday looking to wipe the defeat from their memory.
Facing a Moore High program they had dominated over the years, the odds were in their favor.
However, whatever crippled the Millers Tuesday, came back and hit them again Thursday during a 3-1 loss to the Lions at home.
“I think tonight was another game like Tuesday,” Yukon coach Rachel Allred said. “Not playing to our potential, lots of self-inflicted injuries, unforced errors. The mentality was a little off.”
After the two teams went back and forth during the first few points, it was the Lions that tried to get some distance in the opening set.
They pulled ahead at 15-9 as the match began to take on similarities of Yukon’s loss to Norman earlier in the week.
However, this time Yukon didn’t give in to the pressure.
Led by some by hits from Addison Wimmer, Brianna Worth and Haley Kusik, they were able to stay within striking distance at 22-18.
But the Lions finished off the Millers, taking the first set 25-20.
The Millers kept the second set tight with the Lions. Midway through, the teams were tied at 12.
Yukon led 20-19 when the front line came up with a block to push the advantage to two points. Wimmer snuck a shot over the net that dropped in front of the Lions, pusing the lead to 22-19.
Yukon led 24-20 and was one point away from taking the set. But the Lions scored the next three points to get within one and force Allred to call a timeout.
After the timeout, Moore tied the set at 24.
It looked like Yukon was going to endure another tough defeat.
However, the Millers outscored the Lions 4-2 and won the set 28-26. That included a long rally on the final point in which everyone on the court made a play for Yukon.
“I saw some good fight at the end of the second (set),” Allred said. “We came back and scored the last five, 10 points in that one. But other than those five to 10 points, it wasn’t much of an example of what we’re capable of.”
Moore stormed back and took the third set 25-19.
The Lions jumped out in front early and never let up.
The Lions took the fourth set 25-16 and closed out the night.
“I think a little bit of it was the same kind of feeling from Tuesday,” Allred said. “My hope was to come off that warning better, not wanting to experience that feeling again. But maybe that feeling of doubt was still there. A feeling of frustration was still there. And I also think there is a mindset that some conference teams are easier than others, and we should be playing the same way no matter who is on the other side of the court.”
YUKON VS. NORMAN
Tuesday, Yukon lost to Norman 3-0.
Allred said the team was not playing up to its capabilities.
“It’s always a disappointment when it’s not to our potential and it was nowhere near close to our potential,” Allred said. “It was much better competition with them the last time we played them.”
In the first set, Yukon and Norman went back and forth trading shots. But after leading 8-6, the Millers went cold. Norman went on a 10-3 run to take a 16-11 advantage.
The Tigers finished off the set by outscoring the Millers 9-5 to win 25-16.
After its quick start Yukon looked out of sorts and was unable to make any momentum-changing plays.
Yukon came out on fire to start the second set. They held a 5-1 advantage before Norman knew what hit them. But once again the Tigers stormed back and tied the set at 8-8.
For the second straight set, the Millers found themselves trailing 16-11. This time Allred called a time-out to try and stem the run and get her team back into the match.
However, Yukon came out of the timeout and committed three consecutive mistakes at the net that allowed the Tigers to go up 19-11.
“We just had unforced errors after unforced errors,” Allred said.
From the time out on, Norman outscored Yukon 8-2 and won 25-13.
Yukon was unable to get any big plays from its front line of Katie Clark, Worth and Wimmer as Norman had answers each time at the net.
The Tigers rolled through the Millers 25-11 in the third set to close out the evening.
“They looked done,” Allred said. “They looked like they just wanted to get it over with. It was miserable. Nobody was having fun. They just wanted it to be over.”
Yukon returns to the court Thursday when the team hosts Stillwater. The varsity action begins at 6 p.m.