Volleyball: Wingers drop 10th straightThe weight of losing hung on Red Wing’s shoulders Thursday night in a home match against Holy Angels and it never lifted.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
The weight of losing hung on Red Wing’s shoulders Thursday night in a home match against Holy Angels and it never lifted.
The Wingers, losers of their last 10 matches, rarely threatened to take the lead after the first 10 points in each set and fell again in three sets 25-10, 25-16, 25-12.
“The inexperience shows,” Red Wing head coach Heidi Ulwelling said. “I know it’s frustrating for them, too. I’m trying to keep it as fresh as possible.”
Ulwelling said she wanted the girls to be relaxed Thursday and set up a dance contest for the team before the match, but the Wingers never found rhythm on the court.
Red Wing scored the first point in two of the three sets, but senior Macy Kelly led the team with just four kills. The offense never looked comfortable and the Wingers committed seven service errors in the loss, including five in a second set they lost by nine.
“It is a mental error,” Ulwelling said. “I try to tell them to take a deep breath, relax. The court is 30 by 30. There’s more room inside the barrier than outside.”
Red Wing (4-17, 0-4 Missota) did not record an ace serve.
“We didn’t serve aggressively,” Ulwelling said. “It shows me we’re timid.”
The Wingers’ serve-receive was the issue early as Holy Angels built a 9-3 lead in the first set courtesy of a 7-1 run, with two ace serves by the Stars’ Anne Desalvo. Holy Angels never gave up control of the set despite committing three service errors.
Senior McKenna Schaffer helped Red Wing recover from a 9-1 deficit in the second set with energetic play and well-place passes. Schaffer finished with nine digs and was 100 percent from the service line.
“She stepped it up a little bit,” Ulwelling said. “Her defense in the second set was phenomenal.”
The Wingers closed the gap to 15-10, despite four more service errors, but the Stars immediately responded with a 5-2 run to grab momentum.
Communication was almost non-existent for Red Wing in the third set as Holy Angels went up 8-0 and coasted to victory.
Ulwelling said most of the Wingers have more reserved personalities and it is difficult to pull out emotion. Red Wing is used to a more relaxed practice environment and it is showing in the matches.
“This is the first time this group of players has played together,” Ulwelling said. “They’re definitely pulling their practice atmosphere into game. We’re working on that.”
Ninth-grader McKenzie Cota finished with a season-high seven set assists for the Wingers, and junior Kennedy Johnson had three kills in the loss.
Ulwelling is spending more time teaching the younger players during matches and is enjoying that part of the experience.
“It’s fun,” Ulwelling said. “I’ve been very patient.”
Red Wing will attempt to end its losing streak Monday at home against Hastings.