Tuesday’s volleyball match between the Santa Clara Bruins and Mountain View Spartans certainly did not start the way Bruins Head Coach Megan Morse-Quevedo was expecting it would. Just two matches removed from a spirited contest against rival Wilcox, the Bruins dropped the opening set 25-3 en route to a 3-0 loss. While Santa Clara would get out to a 7-3 lead in the second and trailed just 8-6 early in the third, both sets would eventually see Mountain View win 25-13. After the game was over the Bruins spent more than 30 minutes in an emotional team meeting.
“Mountain View is a really tough team, they are a great team,” admitted coach Morse-Quevedo. “But we also have to work on supporting each other. Fiona [Paul] made a great comment in our little huddle just now, that you have to pick yourself up first. I’ve been trying to teach them that, but it’s a hard thing to teach. It’s something that each player needs to self-evaluate and try not to dwell on mistakes.”
Fiona is one of the Bruins top players and she remains sidelined with an ankle injury. However, the Bruins nearly beat the Chargers last week without her. Coach Morse-Quevedo knows it’s not just about one player’s absence. She knows her squad can perform better than these past two losses to Cupertino and Mountain View, but that it has to start with the leaders.
“None of them get mad,” commented the coach on her captains. “They do internally, but none of them say it. I feel like think that’s where the negativity comes into play. I think everyone knows what everyone is thinking, but no one says it. That’s when they get in their own heads like ‘so and so thinks this about me, so and so thinks that about me.’ I just told Fiona and Shelby [Paul] they are always super positive. ‘Get mad at them! You are their captains, you gotta help motivate them.’ When I was a junior at Santa Clara, our captains always got mad at us, always. And it was never something that we took negatively or personally, we just took it as we need to be better for them.”
Coach Morse-Quevedo went on to note that Shelby and Fiona are great at leading by example, but that she wants her whole leadership group to be more vocal. Fellow captain Iona Mabilin agreed that communication is a big reason behind the team’s success when things are going well.
“When we were up in the second set, our energy was up, we were communicating really well,” noted the senior outside hitter. “Once we got down though, the communication went down and nobody was talking at all. I think that’s our biggest downfall this season. Once the other team goes on a run, we just get down on ourselves.”
Santa Clara plays again Thursday as they attempt to bounce back with a home match against Gunn.