Volleyball hits stride on trip to Oregon
The Logger women’s volleyball team played at Linfield College this Friday. They defeated the Linfield Wildcats 3-0, with scores of 25-23 in the first match, 25-12 in the second, and 25-20 in the third.
As a former volleyball player and new assistant coach this year, Leigh Sumida offered her insight into the games. “Even though we swept the Wildcats 3-0, I think we did not meet our potential. We have much more room to grow.”
Doing everything in their power to avoid losing on their home court, the Wildcats put up a valiant fight in the third set after their harsh loss in the second match. The energy wavered on the Logger side, but they were able to pull together in the final moments of the match.
Referring to The Hangover, junior Juliette Witous (Sonoma, Calif.) said, “I turn to the people around me when I need energy. My teammates are my wolfpack.” Witous had a game high 17 digs. Another highlight of the night was freshman Jackie Harvey’s (Santa Barbara, Calif.) career-high 12 kills on the right side. Wildcats senior Rae Smith and freshman Kelsey Ludin each had 7 game kills.
“My favorite part of the weekend is what we like to call our ‘INTHEFACE’ mentality. It requires full competitive spirit and concentration from all team members, and gives us the unstoppable edge,” said Erika Greene (Sandy, Utah).
Away games are a greater challenge than home games. Uncharted territory, absence of fans, bar the few parents who trek out, and hours on a crammed bus do little to alleviate the pressure. Preparation for away matches requires physical and mental practice.
It took the Loggers a considerable amount of that “INTHEFACE” mentality as they competed against Willamette on Saturday. The Loggers won in 5 games, with set scores of 21-25, 25-22, 25-11, 22-25 and 15-6. Senior Natalie Monro (Eagle, Idaho) hit a .264 percentage, with 19 overall game kills. Junior Brynn Blickenstaff (Eagle, Idaho) had 13 kills, and proved she was a versatile player with 11 digs.
When playing at this high level, the Loggers were able to stunt the Bearcats. At points in the game, the Loggers had runs of six and seven points. The slightly brash fans were quieted as the Loggers’ energy filled the entire gymnasium. Kill leaders from the Bearcats were Molly Blankenship with 14 kills, and Danica Reed with 10.
As a testament to the competitive Logger atmosphere, sophomore transfer Liz Haskey (Puyallup, Wash.) added, “We challenged the opposing teams with our service pressure this weekend.” Serving is a skill that is highly stressed in practice. It is a simple skill, but very difficult to do extremely well. At the end line, the player is all alone, and the execution rests solely on her shoulders. The focus required to serve consistently and aggressively is a mental skill high level teams acquire through rigorous practice.
Even though we only saw sporadic sparks of the volleyball team’s true potential this weekend, it was apparent that a focused, competitive environment is not just entertaining for the players, but also their fans.