By: Julia Swain
The once tightly packed bleachers of just over 1100 fans quickly dissipated as the 3-1 Cedarville loss to the visiting Braves came to a close. Despite a relentless effort and high energy from fans and players alike, the Yellow Jackets were unable to string much of anything together and dropped the final three sets to ultimately lose the match.
Head coach Greg Smith recognized one area in particular that he felt his team needed to work on.
“The biggest thing [we need to work on] is just relaxing and playing our game,” Smith said. “I felt we played tight, especially in the second set and that just carried into the third and fourth set.”
That stress was felt by the fans too, as excitement that ran high at the beginning of the match quickly turned into tension. The Yellow Jackets made a comeback attempt in both the second and third sets, not even the high energy of the players on both the court and sideline could erase the mistakes that continued to pile up.
The match was defined by short spurts of high-quality play, such as good communication and precise ball placement, that would fizzle out before the team could get into a rhythm.
The team’s lack of consistency was something Smith was quick to point out.
“I felt like communication at times was really good, but it was just inconsistent against a good team like Pembroke and you can’t be up and down, up and down, you have to be consistent,” Smith said.
Despite this, positive performances from sophomores Cassi Shields (four aces, eight kills), Kaley Matney (37 assists, nine digs), and Haley Koch (five blocks, two assists) provided a positive takeaway from an otherwise lackluster performance.
Serving was one of the main struggles for the Yellow Jackets. Smith noted their lack of aggressiveness, which resulted in the Braves taking full advantage of those mistakes.
“It was too easy for them [Pembroke] to run their system for offense based on our serving,” Smith said.
After a long post-game meeting, the team’s spirits seemed lifted despite their disappointment regarding their performance.
“We addressed the issues that we need to get better at for tomorrow,” Smith said. “So tomorrow is a new day and we got to be very serious about making those changes.”
The Yellow Jackets will look to bounce back tomorrow against Glenville State at 2 p.m.
Julia Swain is a sophomore journalism student. She likes listening to Taylor Swift, watching sports and playing sand volleyball in her free time.
Photo by Julia Mumford