Varsity falls to Saint Francis in final non-league game


Shun Graves

Sadie Snipes strikes the ball at a home game against Saint Francis, Sept. 10, 2022.

By Shun Graves

In perhaps its hardest challenge yet, girls varsity volleyball faced a three-set defeat at home against Saint Francis Saturday afternoon.

Yet the team showed that it had developed some strengths against one of the state’s top-ranked teams. A persistent offense fueled several kills as the team continued to develop its defense. And a new sophomore offered some of the game’s highest points.

The 25-15, 25-21, 25-19 loss began with Branson leading the first set. Kills from Eva Lacy and blocks from Logan Tusher and Cayman Stein paced Saint Francis, which tied the Bulls halfway. Yet Saint Francis ran away from there with a spate of kills of their own, winning the set.

They were much more heavier on the outside and I thought that we were doing a really good job slowing that down, and as a result other people kind of had to step up for them,” coach Michelle Brazil said of Saint Francis. “Part of our game plan was to see if that could happen, and to their credit, they did.”

The second set started like the first. And again, Saint Francis narrowed a Branson lead to a tie. Unlike the first set, the Bulls kept pace throughout. That’s when Simone Carr, a sophomore who had just transferred to Branson, took her position on the court for the first time with some decisive kills.

I thought she did a phenomenal job,” Brazil said. “She’s been doing a really good job at practices. This is her first time playing that position, and obviously she’s new to the school, new to me and new to everything and she’s a really great athlete and she did a good job.

Ending the second set trailing by four points, the Bulls regrouped to start the third set with some consecutive points, making a 6-0 lead. But a persistent Saint Francis offense again edged ahead. At-the-net action decided several points. Instinctive blocks by Tusher kept an unrelenting Saint Francis at pace.

But cracks in Branson’s defense appeared by the middle of the set as errors piled up. Saint Francis built up its lead to win the set by six points. The Mountain View team improved to 11-0; Branson stands at 2-3.

The team nonetheless continued to deliver a strong offense in both this game and the Mitty one this morning. Brazil said she hopes the team next week will practice “managing errors” and “defense grit.” And Carr said she sees the team continue to grow.

I’ve never played high school volleyball, so everyone is so powerful and encouraging,” she said. “It’s really fun to be up there and get a point and have everyone scream and be excited for you.”

The team heads to Las Vegas next week for the Durango Fall Classic. But first, Branson will face its first league foe Wednesday at Terra Linda (11-4).

I think it’s going to be exciting,” Sadie Snipes said. “Obviously, it’s our first league game, so we’ve seen them a lot before. It’s going to be a really good game.”

With reporting from Cameron Aryanpour.