Seabury Academy senior Elise Stella dropped to the floor, put her hands on her head and gasped for air moments after the Seahawks finished their final volleyball match of the night Thursday at the Seabury quadrangular.
If there was any oxygen left in the gym, it was minimal. The Seahawks (13-8) cruised through their first match of the night against Elwood-Wathena, 25-8, 25-9, before dueling through a pair of three-game slugfests.
Seabury edged Oskaloosa, 18-25, 28-26, 25-19, before finally running out of gas against Valley Falls, 8-25, 25-20, 25-17. The loss to the Dragons snapped Seabury's streak of six straight victories in three-game matches.
"We were all exhausted," Stella said. "I'm not disappointed with our loss at all. We gave it our all, but we were just too tired. We've just got to get in better shape, I guess."
The Seahawks conserved some energy in their sweep of Elwood-Wathena, but things became drastically tougher in the final two matches.
Oskaloosa used an 8-2 run to blow open game one, but Seabury responded in game two. It endured seven lead-changes and nine ties before evening the match. Oskie appeared to have the match put away after taking an 8-1 lead in game three, but once again the Seahawks rallied. Kayla LaFever and Lindsey Ahlen gave Seabury momentum by serving it to an 11-1 run. Four ties and four lead-changes followed before Seabury polished off the match with a 4-0 run.
At that point the Seahawks already were winded. Valley Falls pushed them to the verge of passing out.
"We had won six third-games in a row," Seabury coach Craig Friedrichsen said. "But to play a third game after you'd just had a three-game match is tough."
Ahlen led Seabury with 24 kills, Thurman had 17 kills and three solo blocks, and Frizell added 13 kills.