The Columbus East volleyball team battled back from a two-set deficit Tuesday night but came up just short in the fifth and deciding set.

Bedford North Lawrence made enough plays in the end to pull out a 25-23, 26-24, 17-25, 14-25, 17-15 Hoosier Hills Conference victory.

The Olympians (5-11, 3-1) traded points with the Stars for much of the first set before eventually losing by two points.

The second set began with East storming out of the gates, opening up a comfortable lead at 5-1. Slowly, Bedford crept its way back into the set, evening it up at 16-16. From there, the Olympians would gain control, seizing what seemed like a decisive 24-18 lead. However, the Stars had other things in mind, stringing together eight consecutive points to come back and win the set 26-18.

Falling behind two sets, East regrouped and went on to win a hard-fought third set. Carrying the momentum of the previous set, the Olympians cruised to a fourth-set victory.

Much like the first set, East and Bedford traded points throughout the fifth and final set. Leading 15-14 and needing one point to finish off the Stars, the Olympians were unable to close out the victory, surrendering three straight points to give Bedford the victory.

“Its time to do or don’t,” East coach Stacie Pagnard said following the team’s fourth consecutive loss. “There are only so many times we can be in this situation and come up with this outcome and be OK with it. It’s kind of a gut-check time.”

The Olympians were without top hitter Rilee Jessee, who was sick with the flu. However, Pagnard was adamant that the team not use her absence as an excuse.

“We can make every excuse in the world,” Pagnard said. “We were without our sixth rotation player who starts and plays all-around. So we can make that or excuse, or we can say that match shouldn’t have gone five, and there were a lot of unforced errors that we could have handled.”

Allison Mack led East with 23 kills and five aces, while Kendal Williams dished out 44 assists and had one block. Ashlynn Bergman totaled 22 digs, with Emily Banister chipping in 21.