The Woodridge volleyball players were fired up for senior night Oct. 4 against Portage Trail Conference rival Coventry.
Their enthusiasm and drive nearly earned them a victory, but they came up just short, falling 22-25, 25-21, 28-30, 26-24, 15-12.
"It was a very close, intense match, especially compared to when we lost to them in three straight sets earlier in the season," said Bulldogs head coach Melinda Hosford. "Coventry had two middle hitters who were very tough and we struggled with that."
As usual, senior outside hitters Makayla Sypherd and Breanna Arnett led the way for Woodridge.
Sypherd had 22 kills, four aces, two blocks and 18 digs, while Arnett had 21 kills, four aces, two blocks and 18 digs.
"Makayla was on fire. She and Brianna were equally as intense and aggressive," Hosford said.
Junior setter Kaela Folatko had 50 assists, 10 digs, three kills and an ace.
"Our entire back row, including Kaela, had a good night," said the coach. "The passes were where they needed to be."
Senior middle hitter Hannah Fitzsimmons totaled nine kills, an ace, five blocks and two digs. Junior right side hitter Alyssa Smith amassed five kills, two aces, two digs and an assist.
Junior defensive specialist Ella Lathem had two kills, five blocks, two assists and three digs, while freshman middle hitter Jacierra Arnett, Breanna's sister, had three digs and two assists.
Woodridge had another five-set match Sept. 29 at PTC Metro rival Field but won this one 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 18-25, 15-10.
On Oct. 1, the Bulldogs traveled to non-conference foe Our Lady of the Elms and won another close one 25-20, 24-26, 25-21, 25-22.
Against Field, it was back and forth the entire way.
"Field is a scrappy team," Hosford said.
Smith, returning from a sprained ankle, had four kills, three aces, three digs and two assists.
"Because of injuries, Alyssa started out in the front row but by the end of the match she was playing all the way around. She played well," said Hosford.
Lathem had 13 digs, two kills, two aces and two assists.
"Ella has stepped up to play all the way around," the coach said. "She's getting much more aggressive and confident on the net with both blocks and offensive hitting."
Breanna Arnett had 24 kills, 32 digs, three assists, an ace and a block. Sypherd had 15 kills, 21 digs, three assists and a block.
Folatko had 41 assists, 19 digs, six kills and an ace. Fitzsimmons totaled three kills, seven blocks, three digs and two aces, while junior defensive specialist Francis Currier had five digs.
In the win over Our Lady of the Elms, Folatko was taken out of the match after two sets due to shin splints. Breanna Arnett filled in at Folatko's setter position and did well. She wound up with 10 kills, 13 assists, eight digs and two aces. Folatko totaled 15 assists, two kills, four aces and five digs.
Jacierra Arnett and sophomore outside/right side hitter Brayden Wigal, according to the coach, each did a nice job serving and covering the floor. Arnett had six kills and four digs, while Wigal totaled six aces, 12 digs and an assist.
Currier and freshman defensive specialist Lily Bowman also played well, according to Hosford.
Sypherd had 10 kills, eight aces and 14 digs. Fitzsimmons amassed eight kills, six aces and six blocks. Lathem had five kills, a block and a dig.
Woodridge was scheduled to play at PTC Metro rival Norton Oct. 6, but the result was not available at press time.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a match at Springfield Oct. 11. The match begins at 7 p.m.