Girls volleyball avenges early-season loss to Niles West

Team’s progress on full display in two set victory


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The team huddles before their game with Maine South on Oct. 2

After losing to Niles West earlier in the season, the girls volleyball team battled it out for a second time on Oct.7, emerging victorious with a two-set win.

The girls sealed the win in two sets with scores of 25-22 and 25-18.

Having lost in three sets to Niles West previously, their recent two-set win should bode well for them as they continue through the rest of the season.

“We lost to them in three sets earlier in the season and now beat them in two,” said senior Katie Merk. “Technically speaking we should come out with a higher ranking than them, providing us with an easier opponent [in playoffs].”

Junior Rose McDermott also stressed the importance of this game in relation to the team’s potential later in the season.

“We wanted to win this one so we can still have a chance at conference champions at the end of conference play,” she said.

Head coach Hannah Hsieh noted that their performance in this game also helped measure their improvement as a team.

“This game is important because it is the second round of conference,” said Hsieh. “We lost to them in the first round and we have goals to improve our performance in the second round.”

McDermott credits their strong performance to aggressive play.

“One of our goals was to win in two sets and we did that with being aggressive at the service line and net,” said McDermott.

Senior Maggie Bodman added that consistency also played a key factor in the team’s success.

“We stayed aggressive, but also consistent,” said Bodman. “[Consistency is] something we’ve definitely had trouble with in the past but continue to focus and improve upon every day.”

Merk thought competing in the McAuley Tournament the previous weekend helped the team when they faced Niles West.

“We had a little bit of a rough start, but this past weekend, playing in the McAuley Tournament really advanced our play,” said Merk. “[It] helped put us back in the right mindsets, playing as a unit again.”

Merk noted how the team adjusted to Niles West’s gameplay better than in the first game.

“[Niles West] put up a really solid block that we did not adjust to in the first match, but we finally figured out how to work with it and hit around it in this most recent match which allowed us to end rallies faster and earn a win against a good, solid team,” she said.

Bodman recognized similar improvements which she said helped them take more control of the game.

“This time around, we played our game instead of theirs,” Bodman said. “We had consistent serving, aggressive attacks and scrappy defense, all of which were not really present the first time around playing Niles West.”

McDermott also attributed improvement from their initial encounter with Niles West to the team’s unity.

“This game was definitely more clean; we made less unforced errors,” McDermott said. “We also played better as a whole. I feel like our team chemistry improved so much from the start of the season and it showed in this match.”

Merk believes this unity is partly due to many relationships formed on past teams.

“We all have known each other for quite awhile now, playing at the same club for many years, so our connection is really solid overall,” she said.

As they progress through the season, McDermott said communication is crucial in establishing a sense of cohesiveness throughout the team.

“Our whole team contributes to our success and we just need to keep working hard to side out points and communicate with one another on the court,” said McDermott.