The West Union volleyball team had a rocky start to their season-opening match at home against the Piketon Red Streaks on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The Dragons were swept, three sets to none, against a more experienced team from Pike County, 25-18, 25-11, 25-16.
A short bench and a lack of experienced players left the Dragons sitting behind the eight-ball according to senior Casey Mueller.
“We had first game jitters that got the best of some of the underclassmen,” Mueller said. “Our bench isn’t deep so that definitely doesn’t work in our favor. One of our biggest downfalls was our lack of communication. We also have freshmen that play on varsity and since we haven’t played much with them before, we are timid. We got out-hustled by them in the end.”
After dropping the first set, things got worse for the Dragons before they got better when Piketon jumped out to a big lead in set number two. West Union was able to make a rally to try and salvage the set, but in the end, fell a bit short.
“In the second set we dug a hole for ourselves,” Mueller said. “I looked at the scoreboard and it was 10-0, then our coach called a timeout. We were all disappointed but after we regrouped we nearly caught up to them. I wouldn’t say anything was working against us but ourselves. Some get frightened and some get mad and they can’t pull themselves together to move on and just play.”
Despite the loss, Mueller said it’s not the end of the world for her squad, since Piketon is one of the largest schools the Dragons will play this season.
“This wasn’t a league game so that’s one thing we were happy about,” Mueller said. “But we see where we need improvements. Piketon plays in a tougher division and you can only get better playing tougher teams. We need to play more calm and work together to be able to come back around. It comes with experience and that’s what upperclassmen should teach the underclassmen.”
Mueller said one of the jobs of her senior class is to be strong leaders to the rest of the young Dragons on the team. In her opinion, positive thoughts will yield better outcomes and the season progresses.
“It’s our job to show [the underclassmen] leadership,” Mueller said. “I always try to stay positive on the court and I’m always trying to pick others up when they’re down, whether it’s over a bad pass or a missed serve. I’m always telling my teammates ‘good job’ or ‘nice try’. The one thing I hope they learn from me is that I think a positive attitude is important to our game. We all play much better when we cheer and are happy.”
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.