Middle School Volleyball
February 6, 2020
The Pirate Jr. High A team played its first games of the season. Due to the weather cancelling early games, we played three games within a week’s time.
Our two games next week are home against Colfax on February 3 and at Tekoa against Tekoa/Rosalia on February 6.
Our first game was against Colfax. It was a tough first game to start our year as they are a really good team and we were on the road with a lot of our girls playing on the A team for the first time. We lost by the scores of 10-25, 11-25, 10-25 but had some positives to take away from our first game.
Our girls did a great job of remembering their rotation. We didn’t get out of rotation once all night and oftentimes first-game jitters will cause that to happen. Being that we are an inexperienced A team and were on the road, that was a real positive.
Stat leaders against Colfax included Brooklyn Rayford, who served 7 for 11 with 5 aces and Stacia Bowen, who had an ace on 4 of 5 serving.
Our second game was also on the road against Garfield-Palouse. We came out a lot stronger in this match but ended up falling 25-19, 22-25, 7-15. I was really proud of the improvement between Colfax and G/P. We served only 60% against Colfax but improved to 75% against G/P. We also had more team kills, assists, digs, and considerably more pass-set-spike sequences.
I was really proud of the way we played against G/P and how much better we played. G/P had a heavy emphasis on just getting the ball back over the net as quickly as possible while we kept trying to set up pass-set-spike sequences.
It is much more difficult to do that than just bump it back over on the first ball but learning to do this will serve our girls well in high school. I was very happy with how many times we did that.
As a result, we had 5 girls notch kills, including Ashton Pemberton and Cassidy Bales leading the team with 2. Haliee Brewer played an outstanding game as she led the team in digs with 5. She also added a kill and an assist to go along with 6 for 7 serving and 4 aces. Laynee Herres also played very well. She was perfect serving, nailing 10 for 10 with 5 aces, and also had a dig. Ashlee Pemberton also was a big contributor. Ashlee served 12 for 13 with 4 aces and added a kill and 3 digs.
Our final game was our first home game. We played St. John/Endicott/LaCrosse and lost by the scores of 25-27, 12-25, 12-15. We played really well and lost in extra points in a close game. Our girls were rattled after losing such a close home opener and dropped the second game in which we weren’t very close but rallied to play a tough third game.
Again, I was pleased with how we played overall but consistency was again our biggest issue. Most of the night we played solid volleyball and again did a good job of setting up pass-set-spike, but each game we gave up a run of at least seven points to the opposing team. It’s really tough to win when a team gets that many points in a row during a game.
Our biggest area where we need to improve is in serve receive and usually those runs corresponded with difficulty passing the first ball. However, we have gotten better in serve receive in each match we’ve played this year and, if we can continue to improve, we’ll find a way to pull out these tough games.
We once again raised our serve percentage to 84%, which is really good and 25% better than our first game. I’m pleased with how we improved every game we’ve played so far and how our girls battle every game.
I look forward to seeing what next week holds for this group.
Stats leaders against SJE included Brooklyn Rayford, who served 19 for 20 with 10 aces. When she’s consistent her serve is a real weapon for us. Hannah Bagby was our leader in assists with 3 and kills with 2. She had a great game and after a year off her skills are really picking up. Cassidy Bales filled up the stat sheet with 4 digs, 1 kill, and 3 aces on 6 for 7 serving. Ashlee Pemberton also had 4 digs to go with 4 for 4 serving and a block.
-Adam Van Vogt