Too many unforced errors from a young Columbus East volleyball team in its season opener helped Bloomington North steal a win late Tuesday night.

Kendal Williams is the Olympians’ lone senior, and East coach Stacie Pagnard said having such a young roster has it’s upsides and downsides. East lost a 24-17 lead in the first set and fell 31-29, 21-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-13.

“I saw a lot of youth, which is good, and it’s bad, which you saw in the difference between Game 1 to Game 2,” Pagnard said. “In Games 3, 4 and 5, you saw the good youth and the bad youth. That’s just a product of us learning and growing.”

The Olympians had a solid start to the match, jumping out to an early 4-1 lead, and led by as many as eight points in the first set. The Cougars scored seven consecutive points to take a 26-25 lead, and the teams went back and forth before Bloomington North scored the final two points to close the set.

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East had a similar start to the second set, scoring the first four points and having a late 22-18 lead before the Cougars tried to stage a second comeback that failed. The Olympians handled Bloomington North comfortably in the third set to take a one-set lead.

The Cougars scored six of the last nine points in the fourth set to push the match to a a fifth.

Bloomington North took an early 7-3 lead, and it was East’s turn to play catch-up. East was down 13-8 before scoring three consecutive points, including a crucial block from C.J. Clausen to cut the deficit to two. The Olympians cut it to 14-13 before the Cougars put the match away.

Pagnard said she will be working with her team on how to defend a little better and how not to be afraid of making mistakes in games as the season progresses.

“Every day, we have to work harder and work more,” Pagnard said. “We have to work the youth out of us. By the end of the year, youth won’t be an excuse anymore. Every game, we’ll get better. It’s just a learning process and a grind process.”

Clausen led East with 13 kills and three blocks. Allison Mack had seven kills, and Rilee Jessee added six. Williams recorded 36 assists and two blocks.

Mack notched 16 digs, and Emily Banister added 15. Ashlynn Bergman served four aces, and Clausen had three.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.