Dulaney’s nerves came after its lead slipped away.
“Whenever we play we try to have the most energy, but we were kind of down at that time because we need to work on our energy and we needed to just communicate,” Liu said. “Everyone was just so nervous that we took it to another level that we didn’t need to.”
The nerves eased in the second set and it was Dulaney that rallied.
After falling behind 9-3, the Lions tied it at 12-all.
Following two Hereford points, Liu’s kill pulled the Lions to within 14-13 and Medina took over on the service line.
Although Medina and Liu combined for 39 kills, the Bulls tandem block did a better job containing them in the final two sets.
“We been practicing blocking and trying to take the lane away and we were able to follow her (Medina) arm and set that block right up for her,” Gaffney said.
Dulaney led 15-8 in the third set when the Bulls rallied by outscoring them 9-2 and tying the set at 17-17.
Armstrong had a hard-driven kill, tip for a kill and block during the run.
A pair of aces by Charlie Vail gave the Lions a slight cushion, 19-17, but Hereford rallied to tie at 21-21 after a missed serve.
A hitting error and timely dump for a kill by setter Clark made it 23-21.
Dulaney got a break after a missed serve, but returned the favor and the Bulls led 24-22.
Medina’s kill, off a Kashtelyan assist, put the Bulls up 24-22 and, after a Medina kill, Parker’s tip ended it.
Thompson had a pair of aces in the final set and Gaffney and Parker had three kills each to lead the Bulls.
“I thought we passed the ball unbelievable in the last two games,” Schreiner said.
Thompson and Welsh were making a lot of key digs and pinpoint passes in the final two sets enabling the Bulls to get into their offense.
“The thing was, we didn’t get too aggressive to the point where all we would do was knock the ball out of bounds, we just stayed steady,” Schreiner said. “I told the kids, it’s about winning one point at a time.”
Despite the loss, Liu likes the way the Lions have developed with only three players back from last year’s roster.
“We are still coming together,” Liu said. “I think we’ve grown so much more then everyone thought we would.”
Schreiner thinks his team may have been more relaxed this year, since they didn’t practice on Saturdays and had shorter practices.
“We’ve been going for only an hour and a half lately and I think they were the beneficiaries of that because we worked on the things we thought were important instead of dragging practices out every day because you feel like you gotta go so long and I just thought the kids were fresh today and they were ready to play,” Schreiner said.