Despite a near capacity gym after multiple delays due to weather, the Flinthills Lady Mustangs could not continue the energy as Pratt Skyline ended their season 3-1 (25-18, 17-25, 16-25, 8-25) on Wednesday night.
Flinthills (20-13) busted out the spotlights but it wasn’t enough as they fell in the Class 1A-I quarterfinals. It was the school’s first appearance since 2016.
"I’m just so proud of these girls," Harms said.
The crowd gave both teams this renewed energy that wasn’t felt since early in the season and Flinthills raced out to a 5-1 and 6-3 lead before Pratt was able to gain their footing early.
After Skyline went on 7-1 run to open up a 10-7 lead, senior Morgan Holcomb made a block and a set that led to another point and capped off a six-point burst by the Lady Mustangs.
Karly Girty responded with a kill that put Flinthills ahead 19-15 and an unforced error by Skyline gave the Lady Mustangs the 25-18 first set win.
Pratt responded by taking the second set. Their returns put Flinthills diving after balls and pulling them out of position. Skyline had a run of 6-1 and 5-2 that put them out in front of Flinthills early and they took the set 25-17.
"We just weren’t able to sustain the energy from that first set," Flinthills head coach Kent Harms said. "Credit to Pratt."
Sophomore Presli Harts took over in the third set. She had four kills and a couple of blocks that stymied any run Flinthills tried to put together. She was aggressive at the net and knew how to find the gaps on the floor on her spikes.
Harts helped Skyline jump out to an 16-9 lead and 22-12. They clinched the set 25-16 after Harts sent a return that had Flinthills scrambling to gather up for a return. Their unforced error put them in the match’s driver’s seat.
"You can’t give a team like that momentum," Harms said. "They made us pay."
Skyline (27-7) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the final set and never looked back. Harts was once again the driving force to the net game for the Lady Thunderbirds. They would push their lead out to 21-6 on the back of their libero, Cassidy Spease.
The season comes to an end but it won’t be forgotten. A 20-win season and a 30-win season last year, Harms is appreciative for the teams he’s had the last couple seasons.
"Wouldn’t have believed it if you told me at the beginning of the season," Harms said. "It’s been a lot of fun coaching these girls."
Skyline - 3 - 18;25;25;25
Flinthills -1 - 25;17;16;8