Efforts fall short in finale

IMG_3623 web.jpg

IMG_3623 web.jpg

Nov. 15 marked the last day of competition for the 2014 volleyball season. The Lions were taking on Southwest Baptist for the finale. A special night it was, as it was senior day for the lone senior on the team, Katie Politte.

“It was sort of surreal,” said Politte. “It didn’t hit me [that this was my final game] until this morning, really. I am sad to be leaving, but I will always be a part of this community and I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life.”

Coming into the matchup, the Lions were looking to finish the season on a three-game winning streak, something they haven’t done since the 2010 season. The Lions on senior day would fall to Southwest Baptist three sets to none. Set scores were 19-25, 24-26 and 23-25.

It was a back-and-forth matchup between the two teams. The second set saw 14 ties and two lead changes. The third set saw eight ties and four lead changes.

Politte led the Lions with 12 kills and seven digs in her finale. Callie Whetstone had eight kills and four blocks, while Monica White had eight kills also. Abby Finder tallied 31 assists and eight digs while Katie Wiele had eight digs.

“We desperately wanted to win this one for her,” said Krishna Merriman. “We wanted her last season to end on a positive note. She’s been extremely helpful, not just to me, but to this team.”

In a losing effort, the night belonged to Politte. Politte finishes her polished career with 1,160 kills, which sits eighth all-time in Southern history. She ranks third in total attacks at 4,014 and she is just one of three individuals to record 4,000 plus attacks in a career. Politte’s 1,316 attacks this season ranks third best in a single season at Southern.

The Lions finished 8-22 on the season, doubling their win total from a season ago in head coach John Napier’s first season.

Callie Whetstone finished the season with 150 block assists, breaking the single season record for Southern. Her 171 on the season ranks third best in a season, and she currently leads all of Division II on both blocks per set and total blocks.

The Lions as a team set a new single-season record in block assists with 451. The previous mark was 357.

After an 8-22 2014 season, Politte believes the brightest moment in her senior season was “sweeping Pitt State [Pittsburg, Kan,] and Lindenwood,” she said. “That was a huge accomplishment.”