by Coach Dahl
Facing one of the top teams in Section 8 A is a welcome challenge as tournament time approaches. It's an indicator of what needs to be fixed to compete and stay alive in post season play. In the remaining matches of the 2015 season, the Gators have great challenges ahead of them as they compete against the toughest teams in the area, but they'll gladly take it as this is what pushes a team to rise to be its best. Great competition only makes us better.
The Gators may have lost against the Grygla-Goodridge Chargers, but they did push extra sets, and sometimes that's the goal. However, to win against a better team, the Gators needed to play an exceptional game and the Chargers needed to have an off night, and this was not the case. Set 1 was back and forth for most of the set. The Gators had to serve tough and stay aggressive to have a change against a dominant Charger team. Several hitters were able to sneak in kills; however, the Chargers kept putting on the pressure and won the set. Gator attackers combined for 12 kills in the set; however, the Gators fell 20-25. The Chargers manhandled the Gators during set 2. The Chargers were very effective from the serving line and kept the Gators from returning the ball. The Charger block camped out and Gator attackers couldn't penetrate the Charger defense. When the Gators did side out, they couldn't keep it. It was a quick 6-25 loss. Such a huge deficit sparked a fire as the Gators battled in set 3 and had a much better start, something incredibly challenging to do after getting demolished in the previous set. Late in the stretch the Gators tied it up 20-20 and were able to close out the set 25-21. Ideally, teams would like to keep the momentum rolling into the next set, but set 4 was troublesome from the start as the Gators dug themselves into a hole right away. The Chargers kept attacking and serving tough, and the Gators just didn't work hard enough to battle back as the gap was too large. Back row passing struggled in every set. There was a run late in the set to make it 16-21 but not enough steam to make it a match. The Gators lost 17-25. Overall, the Chargers had over 20 service aces in the match, so clearly, the Gators need to do a better job playing the ball off the serve, but despite the weak set 2, the Gators played the Chargers better than their last meeting. The Gators have to get better blocking on the other team's prime time hitters and avoid giving weak hits and tips back to an offensively dominant team. The bright side is stealing a set from a better team; however, the Gators can't be satisfied with only that--staying competitive and battling point for point throughout the match against tough teams is key.
Carly Mekash had 12 kills; Emily Anderson had 9 kills and 2 aces. Brenna Dallager had 15 assists; Alyssa Kilen had 14 assists. Megan Larson also contributed 3 aces.
Gator Pride runs deep, and Dig Pink night did not disappoint. Hats off to all who contributed in various ways to make the night a success! Fearlessly fighting for a cure is important for all affected by cancer of all types, and there is great strength in unity. Gator Volleyball is proud to do its part--Thanks for being part of our team and supporting this great cause.