By Dave Pearce
For three-quarters of the volleyball match between North Posey and Forest Park on Thursday evening, the north Posey Vikings appeared to be poised and ready to take home a conference win. But that’s when the wheels fell off.
After the Vikings and the Forest Park Rangers split the first two games, the Vikings jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the third game and built it to 20-10 before they ran into an old nemesis…themselves.
The Lady Vikings appeared to tighten up at the prospect of defeating the Rangers and, in turn, gave up the next 11 points. That turned what had been a 20-10 lead into a 21-20 deficit.
“”We had some trouble trying to finish that set,” Coach Natalie Barnard said. “One rotation that we could not get out of, which is something we will be working in tomorrow in practice…we’ve got to learn to put the ball down and get out of that.”
With the Vikings leading 20-19, the coach took a time out to try and rally her troops and break the momentum. But coming out of the time out, the Lady Vikings showed they were still rattled and perhaps a little intimidated as the first serve that came from the Forest Park side went between to Viking players with no communication and neither going for the ball.
At times during the Pocket Athletic Conference and possible sectional match-up, the Lady Vikings appeared to be outhustling and outplaying their much taller opponents. They got to a lot of balls, blocked well, and dug almost everything that came at them.
But in what seems to be a recurring situation, the Vikings finally got a point to tie the game at 21-all when the Rangers made a rare service error.
But the Rangers got the next point before a Hannah Harness tip tied the score at 22.
“We were playing ‘not to lose’ instead of playing to win,” xxx explained. “But then there in the last set, we got to a place where no one wanted to make the mistake. But it wasn’t the right set or the right play for them. I think they were playing smart volleyball at the end and they played a pretty good game, overall. There were a couple of good teams out there tonight.”
But the Rangers just had too much height and too many weapons and they proceeded to score the next three points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
From that point on, the Lady Vikings appeared to be disappointed in their own performance and were playing from behind the remainder of the night.
After the score was tied at 3-all in the fourth game, the Rangers built a 10-4 lead before Ashley Schorr finally ended the run with a kill. Two Bri Brown serves and a Harness spike pulled the Vikings back to within 10-8.
But the next put-away by the Rangers took down a portion of the gym’s Exit sign. The sign is above the door and the sign was hit after a bounce.
A Robertson tip got the Vikings to within 11-9 but despite times of good play, the Vikings could never string together a run in the momentum-laced match.
They did manage to fight back from deficits of 14-11, 14-18, and 15-19 to tie the score at 19-all on a pair of Ashley Schorr put-aways.
The team did manage to stay close and eventually tied the fourth set at 21, 22, and 23. But in the end, Forest Park would take that set and the match by a 25-23 count.
“I think their shortest player was as tall as my tallest player,” Barnard said.
Earlier in the week, the Lady Vikings fell in straight sets at Mater Dei, another potential sectional opponent, although Barnard was still proud of her team’s effort.
“We did some good things against them and they played a good game as well,” the coach said.
“I continue to see improvement and we are trying right now not to look at wins and losses,” she said. “There is more to this than just winning a volleyball game…Are we getting better? Are we improving on our skills? And besides the volleyball aspect, are we learning as a person who we are and what makes you unique and just getting better as a person outside of volleyball, too. I hope they are having fun and growing as human beings. I look at my seniors and appreciate so much what they do. We’ve had a rough year with a new coach and implementing a whole new system. This has been a growing year. They have had a lot to learn this year and they have done an excellent job. With the six seniors, these young girls are going to have huge shoes to fill next year.”
By Dave Pearce
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