After sitting out Tuesday’s loss to Milpitas, the Wilcox Volleyball squad welcomed back junior captain Deena Pederson on Thursday. Pederson missed the Milpitas match while recovering from a concussion. In her absence the Chargers had to take on the Trojans minus both of their captains. Senior captain Isha Gokhale is already out for the season with an ACL injury.
Despite dropping all three sets to Cupertino, Pederson’s return against the Pioneers paid immediate dividends for the Chargers.
“It was rough with her going through a concussion and not having her on Tuesday. Having neither Deena nor Isha on the court, we didn’t have girls who knew how to take on that extra leadership,” remarked Head Coach April Lujan. “Having Deena back tonight was a complete 180, she just doesn’t give up in anything she does, whether that’s volleyball, softball or in the classroom.”
Pederson’s never-give-up attitude appeared to help the Chargers right the ship on Thursday. Cupertino took the first set relatively easily at 25-13. One notable standout on the Chargers side in the first set was Savannah Ramon. Playing libero, the senior picked up a handful of really impressive digs with the Chargers on their heels.
“There was a big difference in her game tonight than from Tuesday,” chimed coach Lujan on Ramon. “She was fully committing to her passing and digging. She played carefree and relaxed which key for her.”
The next two sets delivered a much more competitive match. Both the second and third set finished at 25-21. Late in the third, back-to-back, impressive points pulled the Chargers within 22-21. Setter Elise Corwin notched a service ace and followed it up by setting up an impressive spike from Chargers’ six-footer Amanda McDowell.
“We worked on coming together as a team and playing more aggressive,” chimed Pederson on the boost in performance over the final two sets. “The first set we were hesitating too often. In the last two sets we played a bit more fearless, no room to be timid in volleyball.”
“Hustle,” responded coach Lujan on how the things improved in the second and third sets. “Girls going for balls, not giving up, talking to each other. Blocking, transitioning, we were just faster in the final two sets than in the first.”
The loss drops the Chargers to 1-3 in league play. Their next match will be at home against Fremont on Thursday, Sept. 27.