Volleyball Update - October 3
Watching the colorful sunset following the volleyball playoffs this evening, I was reminded of the famous lyrics by Elton John, “Don’t let the sun go down on me…”. While the season has come to an end, the sun did not really go down on the Lady Cougars.
The Cougars charged out of the gate ready to play their game. They took the court with confidence and energy. The Cougars had first serve and sixth grader Grace Williams was on point to lead them off. Interesting to note, Grace wasn’t one of our star servers when the season began. She was often subbed out for fear of missing the serve. Grace began the game with 7 serves in a row, taking the Cougars into the lead early on. The team backed her up with court coverage and excellent ball placement, putting the Panthers at a disadvantage early on. Sophomore Alecta Feely moved all over the court, picking up short serves and errant balls to help keep the serve in the Cougar’s favor. Senior captain Tasha Neder also ran down stray balls and had excellent placement on the Panther’s court, keeping the Cougars in control. Sophomore Shakirah Wazeerud-Din had a hit on the net that earned the ball back to the Cougars. Grace came around again to serve, much to the Panther’s dismay; she finished the game for the Cougars with 8 more serves. It is worth pointing out, Grace did not miss one serve during the entire match. She had a total of 25 serves. The Cougars took game 1, 25 – 10.
Game 2 was a tough start for the Lady Cougars. They were again struggling with the concept of needing to win the play in order to keep the serve. This along with missed serves really hurt the team. Senior Gwen Waitley played the front row well and had a couple key passes that earned us the point. Sophomore Esther Buckingham continued to show how ball placement on the opponent's court can make all the difference. While the efforts were there, they couldn’t turn the game around. Cougars lost this game, 15 -25.
Game 3, the Lady Cougars decided they had enough of being behind so they came out ready to play their game. Grace was uncanny in her ability to move to and pass a ball. She lives up to her name as she made every pass, even the tough serves, look graceful and easy. Senior captain Marissa Edwards and Esther both provided amazing court coverage and some great net plays for the team. Junior Brandy Michelle Finnell came off the bench and contributed some smart passing placement for the Cougars. Junior Bethany Lingle also came from the bench to help with 2 service points and some good passing in the backcourt. Between the strong support from the bench and the stands, the Cougars gave them a run for their money but the Panthers took game 3, 21 – 25.
The Lady Cougars move into game 4. Before taking the court, they were given the strong reminder to keep their heads and hearts in the game and the encouragement of having to really want it, in order to win it. Alecta started the trend, leading with her hustle and her willingness to hit the floor and make the play. Esther continued her passing perfection, placing balls on the back line, making it tough for the Panthers to return. Bethany also showed off her passing skills with great serve receive in the backcourt. Marissa demonstrated the importance of not giving up on a play until the whistle blows, in addition to pulling some balls out of the net. Freshman Erin McNeal substituted in to provide strong passing support on both the front and back line. She also showed off her improved serving capacity, with 4 serves. Brandy Michelle and Gwen both added to our score with their passing support. The Cougars proudly took game 4, 25 -19.
Whew… now we begin game 5….remember game 5 only has 15 points, so serving consistency and keeping the serve is crucial. Even though they knew these facts, this was the potential downfall of game 5. Bethany had a couple great serves, Esther and Grace continued to shoot tough returns into Panther territory and Tasha was hustling to keep the serve in our favor. The team gave great efforts however they couldn’t catch up. The Panthers win game 5, 7 -15.
So back to the sunset; this season has come to an end like every sunset must finally fade away. The 2017 team has come so far and blossomed in so many ways. The coaches could not be prouder of this group of young ladies and how far they have come this year. We will miss our senior players as they move on but we are thankful for the guidance they have given us this season. They leave behind a great team that will continue to move the Lady Cougar volleyball team forward. So enjoy the sunset, and watch for our sunrise in 2018. Go Cougars, it has been a great season!