The Wilcox Chargers and the Santa Clara Bruins volleyball squads are currently heading in very different directions. Wilcox seems to be surging through the middle portion of their season, finding a consistent level of play match in and match out. Santa Clara, on the other hand, is still searching for a level of improvement that they were hoping to see during this rebuilding season. On Tuesday night, Wilcox yet again won in straight sets 25-14, 25-14, 25-8.
“Today, they regressed a little bit,” responded Bruins Head Coach Jung Shin when asked if he’s seen improvements in his squad since their previous straight-sets loss to Wilcox back on Sept. 17. “We let a lot of balls drop. Instead of just touching the balls, they are hitting the ground dropping. I would be happier if they were at least touching the ball so we’re making progress. But our communication is lacking.”
“We have a lot of potential,” said Bruins senior Kayla Chew. “It’s just a matter of executing it and playing to the best of our ability. There is definitely a lot of work we still have to do.”
On the other side of the court, the Chargers were much more pleased with their effort in this rivalry match than they were in that previous encounter with the Bruins.
“We weren’t as nervous [this time around],” noted Chargers Head Coach April Lujan. “We’ve been working a ton on ball control and controlling tempo in practice. We came out in this match and there wasn’t any confusion, every girl knew their job and communicated their job to another player.”
“We had a strong practice yesterday and came in excited, pumped up for this game,” remarked Chargers junior outside hitter Amanda McDowell. “I think our energy just stayed up the whole game and we were able to play how we normally play against any other team that we have played this season.”
Earlier in the season, the Chargers had some minor disconnect between the setters and their hitters. However, in recent weeks, it sounds as if McDowell, Deena Pederson and the rest of the hitters are communicating more frequently with setter Elise Corwin. That constant talking seems to be paying off with better execution on the court.
“I’m constantly yelling at Elise to change her sets,” chuckled McDowell. “I’m reading the defense and seeing where the block is setting up and how they are defending my hits. I’m always changing it up so they don’t know what’s coming. I might tell her to push me in or push me out or I need it higher or lower, so I’m constantly talking to her.”
With the victory, the Chargers improve to 6-1 in league and 16-10 overall. They will next take on Saratoga on Thursday, Oct. 10. Santa Clara meanwhile sees their record stumble to 1-8 overall and 0-7 in league. They’ll also play on Oct. 10 at Lynbrook.