Volleyball: Mistakes trip up Z-M against HayfieldZUMBROTA - Zumbrota-Mazeppa had trouble with the net Thursday against Hayfield.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
ZUMBROTA - Zumbrota-Mazeppa had trouble with the net Thursday against Hayfield.
The Cougars played the first two sets with plenty of energy but were often overeager, getting called for net calls and serving into the net.
The anxiousness caught up to Z-M in the third and fourth sets as the Cougars fell to the Vikings 25-21, 22-25, 25-15, 25-15.
“We hurt ourselves a lot,” Z-M head coach Stacy Liebenow said. “The little thing like that adds up. We were in a funk.”
Hayfield took advantage of 12 net calls and nine service errors by the Cougars to win the match.
“They didn’t have body control,” Liebenow said. “We were lazy on that part. Ball control was lacking.”
But Z-M (9-9, 7-5 HVL) did plenty right in the opening two sets as both teams played tremendous defense that led to long rallies. Senior libero Geena Miller directed the Cougars’ defense effectively early and finished with a team-leading 17 digs.
There were 10 ties and five lead changes in the first set but Hayfield used a 7-2 run when the score was tied at 15-15 to take control en route to win the first game.
Serving was sloppy in the next set as the two teams committed a combined eight service errors but Z-M got the upper hand late with solid defense and finished out the second set on an ace block by junior Carley Henning.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” Liebenow said, “and then it died a little. The first two sets was a lot of talking.”
Hayfield killed any momentum the Cougars gained by establishing a quick 7-1 lead in the third set and despite a quick 4-0 run by Z-M, the Vikings maintained control throughout the set thanks to miscommunication and more net fouls by the Cougars.
“That third game wasn’t so great,” Liebenow said. “We dug ourselves a hole. I definitely think our energy level went down a bit. They didn’t have that extra spark.”
Z-M played well early in the fourth set but hesitancy crept back in as Hayfield went on a 9-2 run to break open an 18-11 lead. The Cougars lost a step and their passing suffered while the Vikings rode the momentum to victory.
“We didn’t have passing,” Liebenow said. “Our communication was lacking. We’re trying to be a step ahead.”
Dani Wagner tallied 11 kills, 15 digs and seven blocks to lead Hayfield and many of her kills came on smart tips into the middle of the court that Z-M had difficulty defending.
“Area three, right in the middle, was a huge hole for us,” Liebenow said. “That was their strategy. They did a great job finding the holes.”
Setter Rachel Czaplewski also took advantage of the opening in the middle of the court, finishing with six kills and 20 set assists.
Senior outside hitter Brenna Hoven tallied a team-high 10 kills for the Cougars and senior Claira Sullivan added seven more in the loss. Junior Kalli Paukert led the team with 12 set assists.
Z-M will attempt to improve at the 2012 October Classic in Apple Valley Friday and Saturday, with the Cougars’ first match coming against Rochester John Marshall Friday at 5 p.m.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Liebenow said. “Hopefully we can work out some of our kinks.”