Volleyball players turn focus to late-game intensity
Although it lost several senior players last year to graduation, the Mount Edgecumbe volleyball team showed it’s still formidable, beating Haines in varsity and JV matches last weekend at Karl Ward Gym.
"They’re tough. As a boarding school, they get some good players," said Haines coach Judy Erekson.
The Haines girls were off their game Friday, fumbling key opportunities, she said. "They missed serves at the worst possible times and the hitters’ timing was off."
Edgecumbe, meanwhile, played consistently. "They played well. They didn’t let those balls drop. They just outplayed us," Erekson said.
Haines also had difficulty regrouping after losing points, she said. "They get upset. It’s mental. When they get down, it’s hard to get them back up."
Haines seemed to play a better game Saturday, but didn’t score many more points than it did the previous night, Erekson said, despite strong team spirit and well-executed plays.
On Tuesday, team members met on the topic of winning. "Our mindset is a little off," said senior Abby Jones, the team’s middle hitter. A good turnout for the sport and consistent coaching have improved the squad this year, but late in games players have been losing the intensity of play needed to win, she said.
"If we play just to have fun, we’ll have fun and lose. If we make winning one of our goals, we’ll win, if we practice and play to achieve that goal," Jones said.
Injuries to key players Elizabeth Busk-Stevens and Riley Erekson also hurt the team’s morale Saturday, Jones said.
Coach Erekson expressed confidence the team could improve its play. "When they get it all together, they do just fine. They definitely have the talent. It seems like we make the other team play better."
The Glacier Bears fared a bit better two weekends against Sitka, taking a JV game from the Wolves and playing them close.
The girls are traveling this weekend to play Petersburg, a squad that split a series with Sitka. The Haines girls will have their work cut out for them, Erekson said. "They’ve got good, consistent players."