The St. Edmond volleyball team's final postseason tune-up didn't go as scripted Thursday.
Plagued by inconsistency at the net, the Gaels (10-16 overall, 3-6 NCC) fell in four North Central Conference games to Clarion-Goldfield on Senior Night in the SEHS gym.
Scores were 25-17, 25-18, 26-28 and 25-15 in favor of the Cowgirls (20-12, 6-3).
"After our last two wins (over Hampton-Dumont and Bishop Garrigan), I was hoping to go out on a good note (last evening)," Gael head coach John Johnson said. "Finishing 3-6 again conference-wise really leaves a bad taste in our mouth."
Trailing two games to none, St. Edmond rallied back from a 13-9 deficit at the midway point of the third set by reeling off 19 of the last 32 points. Both squads went toe-to-toe throughout the see-saw battle, which featured a combined 20 different ties and lead changes.
The scrappy Cowgirls built an early 4-0 edge in Game 1 and never looked back. Clarion-Goldfield then pulled away in the second set behind an 11-4 burst out of the gates. St. Edmond also failed to recover in Game 4 after digging itself a quick 5-0 hole.
"I thought we just played really well as a team," C-G head coach Mandi Middleton said. "We shared responsibilities both offensively and defensively."
Josie Sann (17) and Katie Hinkle (11) each reached double digits in kills for the Cowgirls.
Macoy Rohrer delivered 28 digs for Clarion-Goldfield, while Hope Polzine notched 26 digs and Stephanie Steiner registered 26 assists.
"Even when we scored some points, Clarion had four girls diving on the floor going for the ball," said Johnson. "At times, we were just too hesitant out (on the court)."
Molly Doster, a senior setter, finished a perfect 13-for-13 serving for the Gaels. Jill Salinas and Skylar Berdaus went 13 of 14 and 17-for-19 behind the service line, respectively. Berdaus was 38 off 44 attacking as well with 18 digs, 12 kills and a pair of aces.
Claire Crimmins (16) and Salinas (14) were the other top performers in the digs column for St. Edmond, which was without the services of senior outside hitter Libby Augustine (leg injury).
"We did OK offensively, and I feel like our practices have been going a little better this past week," Johnson said. "Without Libby in the lineup, we had a couple of sophomores in Anna (Yung) and Madeline (Baldwin) step up and do a great job for us (Thursday). They were both very involved, talkative and fired up."
Doster, Hannah Lentsch, Augustine, Crimmins, Annie Kersten and Berdaus closed out their regular-season Gael careers.
The SEHS junior varsity (21-12, 11-21 and 15-6) and freshman squad (21-17 and 21-10) each came out on the short end.
St. Edmond will host the winner of either South Hamilton (7-16) or Ogden (3-21) in a Class 2A, Region 4 quarterfinal on Oct. 23. Clarion-Goldfield opens 3A, Region 4 play at Iowa Falls-Alden (23-4) on Oct. 22.