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The Columbus East volleyball team came into the season with some injuries to key players, but that didn’t stop the team from a strong effort in their season-opening, round-robin tournament Saturday.
The Olympians made strong hits and key plays, sweeping Terre Haute South 25-5, 25-16, 25-12 and winning in four sets over Bloomington North 25-13, 25-14, 23-25, 25-18.
Head coach Faith Wilder-Newland was impressed with how her team worked in its first match against the Braves and how the pace was controlled for much of the match.
“During the first set we played flawless volleyball,” Wilder-Newland said. “During the second set we weren’t playing as aggressive, but going into the third set we came through and handled the ball very well.”
The second match against the Cougars provided excitement throughout, with both teams stringing together streaks. A few missed opportunities and service errors were primary causes to the Olympians’ troubles with the Cougars.
“We need to eliminate the things we can control,” Wilder-Newland said. “We need to fix our defensive positioning and focus on playing our ball.”
In the final set of the match, the Olympians rallied with eight straight points to put them in a comfortable position and secure a win. Senior Faith Myers said the key for the team to continue forward was to control emotions.
“We had to be more aggressive and communicate with each other,” Myers said. “We need to work on being more consistent, and if we get that down, then I think we can be tough to beat.”
Junior Tayler Chandler led the team with 18 kills and freshman Cortney VanLiew had 17. VanLiew said the main focus against the Cougars was to keep the energy going.
“If we made mistakes, we had to shake it off and keep the momentum going and make great passes,” VanLiew said.
Senior Carly Robertson led the team with three aces and had 20 digs and 14 kills. Myers also led the team in assists with 108 and also had two aces and 18 digs. Senior Alexa Husmann-Miller led the team in digs with 33.
Wilder-Newland said that her inexperience players performed well.
“They get better every day,” Wilder-Newland said. “They’re new to varsity, but they aren’t new to the game. They are very experienced for being so young.”
The Olympians will travel Saturday to Brownstown Central for a 9 a.m. invitational.
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