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As the end of the regular season schedule approaches, the members of the Pirate volleyball team are working hard to maintain their ranking for postseason play, while trying to redevelop team cohesion experienced earlier in the season.
Last Thursday, the Pirates traveled to Monte Vista for an Intermountain League match, which they won 3-1. Although the team lost one set, the match went well because the girls did a good job serving, receiving and executing attacks. Despite these successes, the Pirates still struggled to work together as a unit.
“It’s an element of togetherness that we had before, and lost,” said coach Connie O’Donnell. “I can’t really pinpoint it, but something is missing and the girls see it, too.”
Going into Tuesday’s match against the Ignacio Bobcats, a smaller school with a losing record, the team hoped to pull out a win that could help boost postseason rankings. Despite this motivation, the Pirates suffered a 1-3 loss on the road, 24-26, 23-25, 25-14, 21-25. Although every set was close, the team was unable clench a win. Coach O’Donnell described how the girls played with great passion on Tuesday and executed defensive strategy well.
“The problem was we just couldn’t attack the ball,” said O’Donnell. “We had a lot of hitting errors and lost a lot of points because of them.”
According to the coach, the Pirates don’t usually struggle when attacking the ball; the number of hitting errors during the Ignacio match was unusual. O’Donnell also described how the third set was different from the others as the girls were playing with heightened intensity, talking more and being aggressive. During the third set, she briefly observed the togetherness and teamwork the ladies have struggled to hold onto late in the season.
“It’s something you feel both on the court and on the sideline” said O’Donnell. “We are just having such a hard time keeping it.”
After the third set, the Pirates went down in the fourth set, mounted a significant comeback, but were unable to secure a win. After the loss in Ignacio, the team’s overall record is 10-11. O’Donnell explained how this loss will cause the team to drop in postseason rankings, affecting tournament seeding.
The Pirates will finish out regular season play with two league games at home. The team first takes on Alamosa tonight at 6:30 p.m., looking to redeem a loss on the road earlier this season. Finally, the team hosts Centauri Saturday at 6:30 p.m., hoping to finish the regular season on a strong note, coming out on top by executing strategy, communicating well on the court and working as a team.