The Jonesville Comets volleyball team is admittedly a work-in-progress and it showed Tuesday in a Big Eight home loss to Union City.
There were several bright spots and positive learning experiences that came of the three-set sweep at the hands of the Chargers, but the mental mistakes and a lack of communication at times overshadowed in the conference opener for the Comets.
Union City was victorious 25-19, 25-17, 25-21 and first-year Jonesville head coach Debbie Proctor-Bigelow said she thought the jitters and spotlight got to her young team at times.
“Tonight they were really nervous here at home and I think rather than playing with a little of the savvy we’ve been working on, they were just trying to hammer the ball, so they were making some hitting errors. They were nervous — for a lot of them it was their first league varsity match,” she said. “I think that played a huge difference in there. They haven’t had a lot of experience at this level so it’s a new thing for them, and I think they have a lot of room for growth.”
The Chargers on the other hand had eight seniors, including Chelsea Meyer, who was a force at the net, and Gabriella Brubaker who seemed to have a knack for always being in the right place at the right time.
Union City led the first set the entire way, with the Comets challenging them at 15-16, but ultimately falling short.
The second set was much of the same.
After the Chargers jumped out to a 9-1 lead, Jonesville scored 15 of the next 22 points to even the game at 16.
The Comets shot themselves in the foot with several serves that went awry and bad timing on a few kill opportunities though, as they scored just one point the rest of the way.
“I think we made some mental errors and that’s probably what did it,” Proctor-Bigelow said. “We’ve been working on trying to close games and come from behind and those are a lot of mental aspects that we need to work on, being a young, inexperienced group. We need to learn how to dig back.”
The Comets had better spacing and plenty of heart in the final set, but the Chargers timing and techniques were too much to overcome.
Proctor-Bigelow wasn’t afraid to put all her girls out there and she said she is still figuring out what combinations work best against different kinds of opponents.
“Right now they all have their own little area of expertise and obviously some are taller than others, some are power hitters, some are off-speed hitters, so it just depends on what we need against whatever team we’re facing,” she said.
Shaila Rossman and Breannah Holkins showcased their length with a couple vigorous spikes Tuesday and Jenna Kast did a solid job of putting her teammates in favorable situations.
Shauna Ladd had a team-high five kills, Holkins had four kills and Kast tallied five aces.
Despite the inconsistencies and disappointing final result, Proctor-Bigelow said there was plenty of hope she took away from the match.
“I saw some people come in off the bench and step up, I saw really good team sprit among them out there and they were very positive on the floor, we didn’t have anybody being negative,” she said. “Although some of the things we’re doing are different than in the past, like the three-person serve-receive and that kind of stuff, they’re starting to become a little bit more comfortable with it and with each other.”