Despite suffering a decisive 3-0 loss to Woodland Christian on Sept. 14, the girls’ volleyball team has still exceeded their coaches’ expectations.
Although their 6-25, 16-25, 17-25 loss to Woodland was shocking to some team members, going into the game coach Jason Kreps had predicted this would be the hardest one of the preseason since Woodland was the runner-up in their division (Div. IV) last year.
And senior Alexa Mathisen, team captain, said that the loss against these formidable players gave the girls a new perspective.
“The last few games, we’ve been winning,” Mathisen said.
“So this was a good way to see that there are always teams that are better than us and that there’s always room to improve.”
At press time the team had a season record of 1-0 and a preseason record of 3-2.
They have beaten Victory Christian, Cristo Rey, Cornerstone Christian and Forest Lake Christian; they’ve lost to Bradshaw Christian and Woodland.
And both Kreps and co-coach Sarah Song say they’re pleased with that record.
“The preseason games have told us that we are a strong team and that we have the ability to work well together,” Kreps said.
Before the season began, Kreps said he was worried that the loss of last year’s strong seniors would keep the team from coming together.
“I wasn’t sure how we were going to mesh and gel since we lost four starters,” Kreps said.
“But everyone’s accepted a role on the team, and it’s nice to see that everyone’s getting experience and time.”
“We have a really aggressive serve, and that’s our main asset.”
Neverthless, the young players on the team worried Kreps.
In several games the girls have been losing their energy and motivation towards the end of the game, according to sophomores Heidi Johnson and Lia Kaufman.
“We seem to be a little flat at the end,” Kaufman said.
“We stop talking or going for easy balls.”
But in the pivotal game against Woodland, they didn’t have enough motivation to start with.
“We didn’t have a great attitude coming into it, and losing so badly in the first game put us in a bad mindset,” junior Yasmin Gupta said.
Mathisen said she hopes that the Woodland loss will project them out of this constant lack of motivation.
“This makes us more aware,” Mathisen said.
“We were in a lull after playing two easy games in a row. Going into this game, we thought we were going to be automatically better.
“This teaches us that we can’t be complacent and that we still have to work hard every day and (not) just sit back.”
All this aside, Kreps said he has high hopes for the season.
“We’ve grown tremendously already,” he said. “I want them to continue to lean on each other, come together and work for each other.
“Volleyball is a game of errors, and after an error you just have to move on and learn from it.”
Kreps said that if the girls follow that advice, work together and play to enjoy the game, they have a large chance of achieving their goals.