BLACKFOOT — So close.
Those two words described the night the Blackfoot High School volleyball team had against Madison Tuesday and just how close they were from pulling an upset on the visitors from Rexburg.
After battling back to tie the match at one game apiece, a slow start to set three sent the match back into the favor of the Bobcats.
Undaunted by the one game deficit, the Lady Broncos battled in the fourth set to 10 tie scores and actually had a 23-20 lead late, before Madison roared back to take the match 25-19, 22-25, 25-15, 26-24.
"I was very happy with the effort of the team tonight," Blackfoot head coach Mindy Baldwin said. "We were so close and the girls are still learning how to keep playing at a high level something that they are not used to."
Coming off of a second place finish at the Jerome Invitational last weekend and a solid effort against three-time defending state champ Century earlier last week, the Broncos have been playing some really good volleyball.
Broncos junior outside hitter Holly Gunderson continued her solid play of late.
Gunderson had a big kill and a service ace on back-to-back plays to get the Lady Broncos some early momentum and end an early 6-0 run by the Bobcats.
Blackfoot reeled off a 5-0 of their own to pull the score within one.
But after three tie scores, Blackfoot gave up another mini run to the Bobcats who closed out the first set.
Set two was a battle from the get go.
Blackfoot jumped out to a 10-3 lead, but Madison battled back.
In fact Madison came with two points in the final six points of the set to force Baldwin to call both of her timeouts and try to calm down her team.
The timeout worked as Gunderson ripped off one of her 10 kills on the night to end the set and get the Lady Broncos back in the match.
After the disaster that proved to be set three, the Lady Broncos needed to regroup in set four if they hoped to stay in the match.
Knowing that Blackfoot played some of their best volleyball of the night in that final set.
Both teams played point for point as neither team was able to get any momentum.
The turning point in the fourth set was the play of Madison's 6-foot-3 Cassidy Sellers.
Sellers had two big kills and a block to give the Bobcats a 15-13 lead. She also had another rouge block later in the set to cut into a Blackfoot lead.
But some mental mistakes late in the proved to be too much to overcome as Madison was able to escape with a win.
"In that third set we missed on way too many serves," Baldwin said. "That was tough for us too overcome and something we need to work on. We have played well against some 5A schools and we are just a 4A school. We just need to continue to get better."
Gunderson led the Lady Broncos with 10 kills. Katy Turner added nine kills and 17 digs. Kelsi McDermott had six kills.
Gentry Carter added a team-high 20 digs and Lacey Turpin added 16 digs of her own.
Blackfoot travels to Pocatello on Thursday.