Tuesday’s volleyball box score might make it look as if the Homestead Mustangs cruised to a straight-sets victory over the Santa Clara Bruins. Homestead took the match winning 25-19, 25-14, 25-16. However, neither squad featured a particularly dominant outside hitter.
In fact, arguably the player of the match was Bruins middle blocker Soojin Spencer. The six-foot, one-inch junior got better and better as the game went along, earning the Bruins five blocks overall while also adding a couple of aces from behind the service line.
“When Soojin is on, she’s on,” chimed Bruins Head Coach Martina Carrillo. “For us, we need to have more going alongside her. We can’t have a late start. Our girls always seem to start late, even in practice our drills we have to run them multiple times before they get it down and run in smoothly. It’s the same thing in the games, we get a late start and have to play catch up.”
“Soojin has a big presence for us up front when she’s front row and blocking, it does change the game a lot more in our favor,” remarked senior captain Cydney Ventura. “She always gets up and attacks the ball, always aggressive. Having her up there makes playing in the back row more comfortable.”
“She does really well attacking in the middle, but also hitting the corners which are most likely spots that aren’t covered,” added senior libero and defensive specialist Vanessa Calvillo. “On defense it’s really comforting knowing that even if the other girls are killing the ball, Soojin will most likely get a touch and that ball is so much easier to pass on defense and attack back.”
With Spencer and Calvillo leading the way, defense was one of the Bruins’ strengths in this game. The mistakes made were on offense, not getting clean shots over and too many service errors. Cleaning up the unforced errors alone would have made for a much more competitive match.
“I definitely think the game was much more about our errors,” acknowledged Ventura. “I think if we just communicate more, talk about what areas we have to cover, we definitely could have won this game.”
“I think it’s most frustrating knowing we can really compete with these girls,” added Calvillo. “It’s just our mistakes; mistakes like we didn’t get our hand under the ball or didn’t snap downward enough. I like to call them petty mistakes, we know we are capable of doing it the right way.”
Serving the right way was the biggest advantage Homestead had in this match from a skill perspective. The Homestead Mustangs opened up the second set with three straight aces, two of which tipped over the net. Santa Clara meanwhile struggled from behind the line.
“Serves were also huge today, I don’t know what it was about today, but we could not get a good serve in,” remarked Coach Carrillo. “We missed more than we normally do.”
With the loss Santa Clara Bruins Volleyball sees its overall record drop to 1-6. The team will open up league play Thursday, Sept. 15 at Lynbrook.