Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Titans volleyball splits matches at weekend tournament in Gunnison

Young squad proves full of fire

by Than Acuff

Titans volleyball head coach Heather Perry had her hands full when the team started coming together during the first three weeks of practices. While the numbers looked good, graduation last year had pretty much emptied her starting line-up, leaving Perry just one senior for the season this year.

Her players did show some fire during the workouts and when she held a couple of intra-squad scrimmages, some players stepped up the challenge to earn spots on the varsity team. That same fire showed again last weekend as the Titans headed to Gunnison on Saturday, September 2 for a tournament and finished the day winning two out of four matches and finishing in fourth place in the tournament.

Perry made it clear to her team heading into the tournament that she wanted her team to focus on just a few things. First of all, she wanted consistent serving. Second, she wanted good passing, and third, the team needed to move together and keep moving every set of every match.

Suffice to say, the team hit nearly all three goals in their first two matches of the day as they rolled to a win over Olathe in three sets and then took down Mancos in two sets.

“We had an awesome serving day,” says Perry. “The passing wasn’t precise but they were moving because the passing wasn’t precise.”

Then the midday lull hit as the Titans had a break from the action for lunch before taking the floor against Norwood. The Titans struggled to shake off their lunch break, ultimately falling to Norwood in three sets.

“We just couldn’t get back to where we were in the morning,” says Perry.

That same funk continued into their final match of the day as they faced Delta for a shot at third place. While the Titans’ serving remained consistent, they faltered in other areas and fell to Delta in two sets. Making matters even tougher, the Titans also had some struggles with the an official as the libero uniform was called into question, among other apparent rule violations that forced the match to be stopped several more times.

“It was virtually impossible for the kids to get into any rhythm of play with all the stops that were going on,” says Perry.

While Perry believes the team could have finished the day higher than fourth place, she was still happy with the day overall.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” says Perry. “The first two matches they played bigger than themselves. My two personal highlights were Sophie Hall and Maya Chandler. Sophie demonstrated great hustle and ball control and Maya was thrown in to be the libero and she made phenomenal digs all day.”

Perry will spend the week of practices addressing some of the team’s passing issues to complement the serving and hustle that seems to be in place.

“I’m happy with their hustle so I’m going to use the week to focus on individual skills,” says Perry.

The Titans hit the road on Saturday, September 9 for matches against Del Norte and Sanford, a couple of perennial league powerhouses.

“We typically rise to the occasion and compete—we just can’t seem to break through and get the win,” says Perry.

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