Bluffton High School lost a tough match 3-1 at third-ranked Wando on Tuesday night in the Class 4-A volleyball playoffs. The Bobcats fell 17-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-22 to end their season at 36-14-2. They were the Region 8-AAAA champions.
Bluffton coach Al Stern, who declines to provide individual statistics after games, shared his thoughts on Tuesday's match and his program.
On the match
"It was a great match. Both teams played great volleyball. I'm very proud of our girls. They never gave up. (Wando is) solid in every respect, and we gave them everything they wanted. We kept getting better. The last game was tied at 22-all before they scored three points in a row."
On his thoughts before the match
"I thought if we beat Wando, it would be the greatest victory we ever had. We're ranked No. 11 and they were No. 3 and they deserved it.
On how his team played
"We couldn't have played any better. I think we caught them by surprise in the first game. They were a little shocked. But they came back and regrouped, like great teams do. Our great play wasn't good enough against a great team."
On how this team compares to other Bluffton teams
"This team would be the second best, behind the 2007 that won the state. But talent-wise, they are comparable. If we were in 3-A now, we'd be in the state championship."
On his team's mistakes
"Our error rate was a lot higher tonight. A lot of our errors, though, they forced. Their blocking was especially good. And we missed more serves tonight than I can remember, mostly in the second game."
On his three seniors -- Mackenzie Cooler, Jordan Franklin and Melissa Bournstein -- and the future
"All three played very well. Replacing Mackenzie and Jordan is going to be very hard. Jordan played great tonight, one of the best matches she's played all year. Mackenzie played really hard tonight. Had we gone to the fifth game, I'm not sure how much she would have had left. We had some very long rallies that just went on and on. But the three seniors are going to be missed, no doubt about it. But we have four good freshman, and they gained an amazing amount of experience. They will be ready to go full bore next year."
"When you lose a match when you played great volleyball, you can't feel bad."