Look to rebound with matches this week
by Than Acuff
Homecoming week can be a double-edged sword for the Titans teams. Some rally with the support of the hometown crowd while others succumb to the nerves of playing under the spotlight.
The latter was the case for the Titans volleyball team as they opened the homecoming festivities on Thursday, September 14 with a match against the Center Vikings in mighty Mt. Olympus.
Coach Heather Perry was looking forward to the match with Center. While the Vikings are notoriously scrappy, the Titans usually rise to the challenge and can edge out a win with a slightly stronger skill set.
“I had hoped to use that day to get them to work on some offense,” says Perry.
Unfortunately, the match didn’t play out as hoped. The Titans fell into a hole early, dropping the first set 16-25. They came back to win the second set fairly easily 25-14, but then lost the third set 20-25.
Down two sets to one, the Titans’ backs were against the wall. They recovered in the fourth set to win 25-13 to force a fifth and final set to determine the match.
“We pulled our serving around and when we serve well, we play well,” says Perry of the fourth set.
The fifth set is fast and furious. While the first four go to 25 points, the final set goes to 15 points and leaves little room for errors.
“The last set goes really fast and we have a habit of starting slow,” says Perry. “You can’t start slow in a game to 15.”
The Titans fell behind early and then panic set in leading to mistakes that eventually spelled their demise as they dropped the fifth set 7-15 to lose the match.
“The whole match was up and down and I think nerves just got the best of them,” says Perry.
Senior Catherine Washburn led the Titans with 26 assists, Ellia Pannier had eight kills and Sophie Hall served up six aces in the match.
The Titans returned to Mt. Olympus on Saturday, September 16 for matches against league powerhouse Sargent and middle-of-the-pack team Custer County. Sargent brings a well-skilled, seasoned squad to every match as one of the programs that plays year-round. While the Titans fell in straight sets, Perry still felt the match could have been a little tighter as her players spent the first two sets completely out of sync.
“I don’t really know what happened with our girls in that match,” says Perry. “We were just not in the right place at the right time. By the third set they were doing a little better but, again, it was too late.”
Maisy Ramsey did fire off three kills in the match, Pannier tallied two solo blocks and Stella Newman finished with eight digs.
The Titans continued to struggle with disjointed play against Custer County later that day. While Custer County is another quality program, the Titans typically match up well against them.
“They’re a good team but we always compete and battle with them and beating them is realistic,” says Perry.
After losing the first set, the Titans came back to win the second set only to drop the next two to lose the match.
“We were just out of sync and not in tune,” says Perry.
Pannier had a strong match at the net with six kills and two solo blocks. Maya Chandler worked hard to record 18 digs and Washburn finished with 15 assists.
The Titans remain at home this Friday, September 22 when they host Cripple Creek and then head out on Saturday to face South Park. Perry is looking for her girls to get back on track with these next two matches as they should take down Cripple Creek and then put up a good fight against South Park.