WEST ALEXANDRIA – Both Twin Valley South and Mississinawa Valley opened the 2016 volleyball season with respectful records.
South won three straight to start the season while the Blackhawks got off to a 2-1 start – beating Franklin Monroe and Tri-County North but losing to Arcanum. So both teams entered Tuesday’s match with winning records.
Twin Valley South was able to win the match in three sets, but Mississinawa was able to keep things interesting.
All three sets went in a similar fashion. South got off to an early lead then Mississinawa would make a run and briefly capture the lead itself. But the Hawks would squander their momentum and let the Panthers back into the game. South then would retake the lead and hold off a challenge from the Blackhawks for the win.
So Mississinawa Valley proved it could play with South, but mentally MV could not pull ahead and keep a lead.
It had to be a frustrating night for Coach Billie Hunt to see the team rally three times for the lead in all three sets only to relax and let South back into the game. She took several timeouts throughout the contest to rally the players. And for the most part the timeouts worked to refocus the team for the next few volleys, but the effect was not long lived. At least not in the first set, which the team lost 25-18.
But in the last two sets the team fell just short – 25-22 and 25-21. Those two times the team was making a furious last ditch effort to catch South but couldn’t finish.
“We have a lot of good things happening for us on the volleyball court,” Coach Hunt said. “They have a lot of camaraderie on the court. I told them that they have this great family atmosphere with each other. But we have to push ourselves so much harder and want to play the whole game strong. One, the players said that we can’t get down a few points and let that affect us. She was right – the minute we got down a few points, we fell apart, and we can’t do that.
“We would wake up and fight back in the game, but we couldn’t push ourselves past the limit. We need to climb this hill and get past it and down the other side. I know that they have it in them, but they need to bring it full force.”
The Blackhawks have a rematch against North on Thursday. This second match could be tougher than the first because North knows what the Blackhawks have and there has been time to prepare.
“They are a scrappy team,” Hunt said of Tri-County North. “And I told the girls tonight that we only have one night to get ready for them, and I know that they are going to be ready for us. We need to control the ball on our side of the court. If we can do that then we can be successful.”
“All the girls are doing well to this point, but Mikala Stump has had a good start,” Hunt said of her team’s play this season. “She has done all that we ask of her, playing each position and playing hard where she is at on the court. We do have a couple of injuries that have changed the lineup. Makenna Price is playing setter – a position that she has not played since junior high. But she is doing a great job of filling in there. She stepped up and played a position that I needed her to play, and I appreciate that. We got jump serves tonight from Sidnie Hunt, and that helped us.”
Mississinawa has some tough conference games coming up against Tri-County North, National Trail and Miami East. The Hawks need to be hitting on cylinders and learn to keep their momentum in these next three matches.