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MMI shows fight in loss to Dallas

Brone Lobichusky of MMI Prep goes up across the net from from Dallas’ Erin Belles. Lobichusky had a match-high 15 kills and helped the Preppers steal a game from favored Dallas.

Pete G. Wilcox/The Times Leader

DALLAS — For the past several years, the long-suffering MMI girls volleyball team has been trying to gain some notoriety.

On Wednesday, it was mission accomplished, albeit in a losing effort. The Preppers (8-9) took a game off powerful Dallas, and played the Mountaineers tough throughout the match before succumbing 3-1. The scores were 25-12, 25-19, 22-25, 25-18.

MMI got an impressive performance from 5-foot-10 junior middle hitter Brone Lobichusky, who virtually put the Preppers on her shoulders. Lobichusky had a match-high 15 kills, nine blocks and four aces.

After falling behind 2-0 in the match, MMI overcame a 9-5 deficit to post a 25-22 win in Game 3. The Preppers forged an 18-15 lead on a Lobichusky slam and widened the margin to 21-16 when she made a monster block against Katrina Heintz.

“I saw her go up and I had a feeling I could make the block,” Lobichusky said. “My timing was dead-on perfect. I get an adrenaline rush when I make a block, especially against a hard hit.”

MMI closed out the game on a service point by Diana Anthony, who wound up with 18 digs.

According to Lobichusky, taking a game off Dallas (15-3) was the highlight of the season for the Preppers.

“We played an excellent match,” she said. “This definitely was our best effort of the season. Everybody played well and we showed that we can compete against a top team.”

Anthony said the Preppers made a statement with their performance Wednesday.

“Dallas is a top-five team,” she said. “This is really good for our program. If we kept it up, we could have won the match.”

MMI coach Bruce Young was thrilled with his team’s effort, even though in the end it was outmanned.

“I thought we played well, but Dallas is the better team,” Young said. “It’s a real positive anytime you hang in there with a team like that. Losing to Dallas the way we did tonight is nothing to be ashamed of.”

The Preppers also got a sterling performance from senior outside hitter Gabbie Joseph, who had 10 kills and 12 digs.

Dallas was led by Sarah Flannery, who notched 12 kills, three blocks and eight service points. Shauna Phillips had 11 kills, 12 service points and two blocks, while Heintz had nine kills, 10 service points and two blocks.

“They found our weak spots and took advantage,” Flannery said. “The kept on digging our shots. Brone had a really good game.”

The match was Dallas’ final tune-up for the District 2 Class 2A playoffs. The No. 4-seeded Mountaineers face No. 3 Crestwood (14-4) in opening-round action on Monday.

“We have to be prepared (for Crestwood),” Flannery said. “We can’t let up.”

Phillips said Dallas was a bit out of sync because it was senior night and the Mountaineers went to their bench more than usual.

“We dropped down to their level until we went with our regular lineup in Game 4,” she said. “We have to look past this and play better.”

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