By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Fast starts flattened off to sluggish conclusions as Bedford North Lawrence dropped three matches during its annual BNL Invitational tournament on Saturday.
The Stars (9-8 with six straight losses after its torrid opening to the 2020 campaign) suffered setbacks to Park Tudor and Evansville Mater Dei during pool play in the six-team event, then fell to Terre Haute South in the final round.
BNL won the opening sets in both first-round matches, then couldn’t cap the best-of-3 battles. Park Tudor closed out a 23-25, 25-20, 15-10 win, while Mater Dei posted a 23-25, 25-20, 15-4 triumph.
The Braves thundered to a 25-11, 25-14 win in the finale.
“We’re still building a product of not accepting less than 100 percent and winning,” BNL coach Gabrielle Arthur said. “We got in our heads, as the points kept going by, and we started chasing.
“It’s definitely a mindset. During our losing streak, in four of those the mindset played a big part in how we played.”
In the opener, Annie Waggoner had 7 kills and 5 assists, Myla Bergman had 8 digs, Haley Deckard had 8 digs, Merritt Callahan had 10 assists, and Brynlea Bennett had 5 kills. The Stars rallied from a 21-18 deficit to win the first set and battled to a 19-19 deadlock in the second before coming up short.
The Stars lost Carlee Kern to an injury late in that match, and it showed later on.
“That’s a big piece out of the lineup,” Arthur said. “We were playing people in different positions and everyone did a good job, but that’s a big difference.”
Deckard had 7 digs and 5 blocks against Mater Dei, Bennett added 5 kills, Bergman had 6 digs and Callahan totaled 5 assists.
Deckard had 5 kills and 8 digs, Bergman added 7 digs and Waggoner had 5 assists against Terre Haute South.
“We need to find our momentum back,” Arthur said. “We will. There’s no excuses.”
BNL will host HHC rival Columbus East on Tuesday.