FAIRFIELD – The Cayuga Ladycats season came to a close Monday night as they were swept by the Iola Lady Bulldogs in three – 25-12, 25-10, 25-13.
“It was a disappointing loss, but we played hard,” head coach Magen Humphrys said. “We had a lot of nerves in the first part of the game. Being in regional quarters put some pressure on us, but we eventually were able to settle down.”
Cayuga deployed a team comprised with majority of freshmen and juniors. However, two of their three seniors did lead their team in kills on the night. Megan Kelley had a team-high seven kills. Freshman Claira Drinkard showed a glimpse of what the future holds for Ladycats volleyball with her five kills, 11 assists, one ace and one dig.
“[Drinkard] stepped into new roles for us,” Humphreys said. That took leadership. And it was leadership she showed all year long.”
Senior Camille Robinson had three kills on the night, two aces and two digs. Cayuga also saw solid contributions from junior Briley Shaw who posted nine digs against Iola.
After losing five seniors last year, it's refreshing to know Cayuga will be able to return the majority of their core next year.
“It was a growing season for us,” Humphreys said. “Being able to make it to the regional quarters is huge. Seeing the fight my underclassmen showed throughout the playoffs is very promising for next year.”
For Camille Robinson, Megan Kelly and Riley Humphreys, it was the last time they'll drape the black and gold for the Ladycats volleyball team. However, it also signified the start of a different beginning for those three leaders.
“It's bittersweet,” Humphreys said. “Those feelings before the game and the butterflies aren't recreated in life. But it's exciting because they're moving on to better things.”
Coach Humphrey's spent the last 103 days from Aug. 1 until Monday night battling with her volleyball squad. Even in her 10th year with Cayuga, it doesn't get easier letting go of her senior class.
“It's always exciting getting new freshmen in, but before you know it they're leaving you,” Humphreys said. “I've had them a lot in that time. So when the season ends it's just not the same. Being able to have an impression on them is rewarding when they are gone even though it's so sad.”
Coach Humphreys is hopeful the experienced players like Megan Kelley passed down to the younger athletes will reside in them until next season. Maybe, the next crop of Ladycat players will be the ones to lift Cayuga into regional tournament action next year.