MONROE - The Rockdale volleyball squad saw its season come to an end Saturday after bowing out of Area 8-AAAA Tournament in its third match.
Despite topping Cedar Shoals in three games during the first match (25-11, 21-25, 25-18), Rockdale lost to Monroe Area (25-11, 25-12) and Winder-Barrow (25-20, 25-18).
For the third straight year, Rockdale finished with more than 20 wins at 21-20 and had the most area wins since Sansing took over the program with a 7-3 mark
"We had a good team," Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said. "This was just a learning experience in the area tournament. It was hard for a lot of them because we expected to win, but we persevered. We had a lot of setbacks, and we responded well."
Those setbacks included several players suffering from various illnesses and injuries down the stretch. On the positive end, a handful of Rockdale junior varsity players gained valuable experience after replacing them. In all, fifteen players saw playing time on the varsity squad.
"That is the good thing," Sansing admitted. "All those junior varsity players came up and got some playing time. I'll have a full team with varsity experience next year, so that's a plus. I think they're going to have that hunger this time for sure because we got so close and missed it for the second year in a row."
According to Sansing, the one constant on Saturday was Chelsea Nunn.
"She was constantly having to hustle and we didn't do a good job of passing the ball," he said. "So she was constantly on the move and she did her best to try and get us a chance."
For seniors Jasmin Miller, Tayla Mitchell and Jakarrea Mustaf it was their last volleyball match.
"They really stepped up this year," Sansing said of his trio of seniors. "They really did their part and did everything I asked them to do. All three of them really gave leadership to the rest of the team and we will miss that."
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.