AMMON – With a 2A state tournament volleyball title in sight the Firth Cougars took to the Hillcrest court on Saturday morning looking to complete that goal.
At the end of a very emotional day on the court, Firth came up just short of that goal as they brought home the second place trophy after losing to Nampa Christian in both the semi-final and championship games.
“I’m not going to lie, whenever you come to state without a single player who has ever been to state it can be emotionally draining,” Firth head coach Carla Reeves said. “That was my one concern coming in and I have been pretty hard on them all season long trying to get them mentally and physically prepared. They are a strong conditioned team so they had that covered I think what got us was the emotional side of things but they never lost face out there, they never gave up.”
Firth started the day with the semi final showdown with the Trojans in what proved to be a dog fight to the bitter end as neither team gave an inch. The older and more experienced Trojans prevailed in four games however 25-22, 19-25, 25-22 and 25-20 to send Firth into a match up with Malad.
Firth responded in the second match of the day as they shook off the disappointing semi final loss by digging deep into the reserve tank, winning in five games capped by a thrilling 15-10 fifth game.
After a brief rest the Cougars then took to the court looking for not one victory but two if they wanted the blue trophy and early on it looked as if they were going to be equal to that task as they took an early 9-5 lead. Nampa Christian settled down however and started their comeback to eventually power past the Cougars into a 22-18 lead.
Firth called a time out and then responded with a 5-0 run highlighted by a pair of stuff blocks by Britton Bean and #1!1111111 and after a big kill by Bean the Cougars led 23-22 forcing a time out by Nampa Christian.
The Trojans responded with a 3-0 run themselves to take the 25-23 win in game one and with it the momentum that Firth could never fully regain.
“It’s hard to block someone coming at you who is 6’1” which is something that we have not seen at all this year,” Coach Reeves said. “We had sophomores giving it all they had and swinging with everything that had at a massive front line. We have not seen anyone running plays at us like Nampa Christian did today. We kept digging though. They took some big hits back there getting knocked to their butts but they just kept getting back up and I couldn’t be any prouder of them.”
After the emotional game one loss, Firth fell in the next two games settling for the second place trophy as their huge fan base consoled them afterwards.
Jordyn Park was stellar all day long for the Cougars as she dished out 111 assists in the three matches most of which went to Bailey Nelson as the sophomore collected 48 kills and 38 digs on the day.
Britton Bean was equally impressive in the stat column with 30 kills and 21 digs while senior Blakely Date added 18 kills on an afternoon which will motivate the large group of underclassmen for next years season.
“To take second in their first year at state well there may be a lot of tears but there is a lot of pride in my heart,” Coach Reeves said. “They’re more determined than ever to come back next year. My two seniors are upset that they can’t be involved in that ride but the first thing my team said was that this will be ours next year, we know what to do, it’s ours.”