BREMEN — One big misunderstanding, a host of service errors and a red-hot opponent conspired Saturday afternoon to end Madison-Grant's volleyball season.
The sixth-ranked Argylls (26-10) fought through three heavily contested sets but ultimately couldn't solve Hammond Bishop Noll in a 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 loss in the Class 2A semistate semifinals.
"We had a serious discussion about kind of willing ourselves to win," Madison-Grant coach Bob Holloway said. "It didn't work out today. I thought our effort was good, we just didn't execute."
The Argylls took a 20-16 lead in the third set and appeared to be starting the same sort of rally that led them to the regional title. Madison-Grant lost the first two sets on Tuesday against Muncie Burris but stormed back with three straight wins to reach the state's elite eight round.
On Saturday, however, the Argylls couldn't hold on to the lead.
Bishop Noll rallied to within 23-21 when the match's most unusual sequence occurred. Holloway turned to the official nearest his bench and asked how many substitutions his team had made in the set. The answer came back as 16, meaning Madison-Grant still had two subs remaining.
Holloway then began discussing his options with his assistants. After the Warriors scored the next point to cut the deficit to 23-22, Holloway sent in a sub, and the same official then told him that was his 19th substitution.
A lengthy conversation ensued during which Holloway repeatedly asked why he'd been told he'd made 16 subs just moments earlier. After the debate ended, Bishop Noll was awarded a point and the set was tied.
"I don't know how that can happen," Holloway said, noting three of four coaches in the area — including himself — had heard the initial answer of 16.
The Warriors immediately capitalized with a pair of kills from junior Carly Cappello to end the match.