The Woodbury Royals led two sets to one and 6-1 in the fifth set but couldn't hold on and dropped a season-ending loss to visiting Irondale Oct. 24.

Irondale won in five games, 18-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-11 and 15-11.

Woodbury jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fifth and deciding set and seemed poised to advance to the next round. But Irondale rallied to tie the game at 7-all and then 8-all. The Knights then closed it out by winning seven of the next 10 points.

"We were just mentally unstable today," said Woodbury head coach Cassie Cahill

Despite the loss, the match was another step in the right direction for the young Royals, who lose only one senior off this fall's team, outside hitter Hannah Tri.

Irondale defeated Woodbury 3-1 back on Sept. 7 but this match was much closer.

"After this match we talked about how far we've come since the beginning of the season," said Cahill. "We played that team at the beginning of the season. This was a much more competitive match. We also talked about having an enjoyable season and how much better we got."

With everybody expect Tri potentially back next season, Cahill said she wants the players to be in better shape, play on a club team with a longer off season and to try and get excellent coaching before they report next fall.

Cahill also praised the play of junior middle hitter Grace Beseman.

"She's kind of our rock," Cahill said.

Woodbury ends its season with a 7-18 record.

Ninth-seeded Irondale (10-17) advances to play at top-seeded and seventh-ranked Stillwater on Thursday in the Section 4AAA volleyball playoffs.