It’s been a roller-coaster season so far for the GPS
volleyball team and they haven’t even gotten through the first month of
Injuries, illness and youthfulness have all taken its toll
on the Bruisers. Their record was 3-7
prior to Wednesday’s match at home against Red Bank.
The Bruisers can and will get better. They took a step in that direction following
a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Lionettes in a match that could have
gone either way.
GPS built a 16-5 lead in the first set, but had to hang on
for dear life to prevail, 25-23.
Bruisers had a similar big lead in the second set, bolting to a 13-3 advantage
before Red Bank started playing. Five
straight service points from Allison Walker allowed the Lionettes to knot the
score at 17-17 before taking control at 21-17.
Red Bank then prevailed by 25-19 to even the score at one set apiece.
GPS scored the first point of the third set, but this one
belonged to Red Bank. The difference was
13-9 before Red Bank's Janie Smith’s kill gave her team an emotional boost and Susie
Marler followed with eight straight service points as the visitors proceeded to
take a 2-1 lead with the convincing 25-14 win.
The score was tied on five occasions in the fourth set – the
last time at 7-7 – before GPS started playing with intention and purpose. The Bruisers scored nine of the next 12
points and never looked back as they evened the match at two sets apiece with
the 25-15 win.
GPS, with momentum clearly on its side following the fourth
set, took advantage by scoring the first three points and six of the first
eight as they closed out the match with the 15-6 decision.
“I thought we had a good start, but being as young as we
are, we started playing not to lose and that’s frustrating,” said GPS coach
Paul Brock afterward.
“We were passing all over the board and our hitting was
inconsistent, but we made some adjustments after that fourth set to give our
hitters a few more options. We went to a
smaller lineup and finally got our chemistry right.
“I’m happy with the first, fourth and fifth sets, but we
could have just folded our tent and quit.
Our passing was better today than yesterday and we had better ball control. Momentum can be an amazing creature at times,
but you always want it on your side.
Teenaged girls don’t always have the mental toughness to control it, so
it’s hard to stop at times.
“We’re getting better and we just have to keep working, but
we should be okay before the season ends,” he added.
Red Bank coach Mandi Munn saw a lot of positives and was
basically pleased with everything except the final score.
“We have to learn how to finish out a match when the
momentum is on our side. We fought hard
and played pretty well for the most part, but we just have to learn how to be
mentally tougher in situations like that.
I’m hoping that we can learn from our mistakes. We still have some cleaning up to do with our
game, but it’s tough losing a match like that,” she nodded after her team had fallen
to 6-5 in the non-district match.
Angela Bonds, one of four GPS seniors on the roster, was a
force up front as she demonstrated her outstanding leaping ability as she finished
with 17 kills.
Mackenzie Hobbs, another senior who just returned from
surgery, contributed 19 digs while Reagan Williams, yet another upper-classman,
may have had the best match of all with a dozen kills, 15 digs and 31 assists.
Caitlyn Jenkins spearheaded Red Bank’s attack with 11 kills
and 17 digs while Hannah Wilson had 22 digs and Marjorie Smith six blocks.
RED BANK STATS:
Caitlyn Jenkins – 11 kills, 17 digs, 2 aces
Allison Walker – 6 kills, 12 digs
Rachel Thornbury – 16 digs, 2 aces
Hannah Wilson – 22 digs,
Janie Smith – 4 kills, 5 blocks
Jasmine Simpson – 2 kills
Dani Usher – 5 kills, 5 blocks
Megan Paradis – 5 digs, 3 aces
Cassidy Payne – 6 digs
Marjorie Smith – 4 kills, 6 blocks, 6 digs.
Kate McVay – 1 dig
Lilly Berger – 8 kills 6 digs
Courtlyn Martino – 17 digs
Jenna Simpson – 3 kills, 4 aces, 27 digs
Helen Johnston – 4 kills, 3 blocks
Angela Bonds – 17 kills, 3 aces, 12 digs
Allyce Buniak – 5 kills, 5 blocks
Mackenzie Hobbs – 1 ace, 19 digs
Reagan Williams – 12 kills, 31 assists, 1 ace, 15 digs
Gabby Hughes – 3 kills, 17 assists, 5 aces, 1 dig
Cami Shands – 1 kill, 1 block, 1 dig.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)