The Lady Highlanders girls varsity volleyball team lost 3 games to 1 against Hiwassee Dam on Aug. 30. Junior varsity did not fare any better losing 2 games to 0.
“I have never seen a team (varsity) fight so hard,” said Head Coach Katy Postell. “They came out strong against a veteran team and defending conference champs and they fought for every point they scored. I was more than proud of them!”
The match seemed to be plagued with delays for discussions between referees, even to the point of referees scolding the crowd for making noise during the serve.
Junior Bailey Schmitt is filling in for Kedra McCall while she recovers from an ankle injury. Schmitt said when she was first thrust into play it made her nervous but is getting used to her new role. She was disappointed with Thursday’s outcome against Hiwassee.
“I think we’re capable of winning as long as we do the stuff we know we can do,” said Schmitt. “Overall I think we did good. We could have done some things better but we kept up with them.”
In the middle of the third game Jordan Carrier had the wind knocked out of her and took a minute to recover and then immediately continued playing.
Junior Jeslyn Head said a lot of changes have been made to the team’s rotation to adjust for the loss of McCall.
“Coach (Postell) is making all the best adjustments without Ked (McCall) to allow us to play more consistently,” said Head. “We had to change everything.”
Postell said the team has settled on a rotation used since playing Smokey Mountain on Aug. 27.
“We have been trying to find consistency with hitting, consistency with passing and consistency with serving,” said Postell. “We have found a great rotation and have seen a lot of growth in the girls in certain spots since she (McCall) went down. It takes a while to find the right chemistry on the court, but we had just found it against Rosman, we are finding it again now, and we will find it when Kedra comes back!”
The Lady Highlanders play an away match at Smokey Mountain Sept. 5.
“They (varsity and junior varsity) have the opportunity to both come home with wins,” said Postell. “The JV played them tight up here and with the possibility of Kedra returning for that game I am excited to see what they do.”
Freshman Reese Schmitt they did not cover the floor well and lacked communication against Hiwassee Dam but is confident facing Smokey Mountain again.
“I feel like we’re going to win,” said Reese. “I know we have the ability.”
The Lady Highlanders JV team lost to a clean sweep of 2 games to 0 and sophomore setter Tessa Wisniewski said a big part of the problem was communication.
“We just quite communicating,” she said. “There was no talking. And it was dead in the gym, there was no enthusiasm for anything we did.”
Freshman Emma Minton agreed with Wisniewski in regards to communication.
“We weren’t moving like we should,” said Minton. “We weren’t covering and getting ready for the balls to come over. And we weren’t talking as much as we should. But we did have some great serves, blocks and hits.”
Postell said JV is learning with each game and just need to overcome a couple hiccups.
“I think the JV played well,” she said. “We had a couple girls get frustrated a couple of times due to not being able to finish the play but overall they kept fighting and played thru some insecurities on the court.”
She added that is thrilled at JV’s progress as a team.
“They have grown so much, I have three returning JV players, everyone else is new to high school volleyball and they have come so far,” said Postell. “They are competing with every team, and winning some games we haven’t won before. They went from not understanding the game to playing it well!”
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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