Despite their loss to the Gauchos, girl’s volleyball plans to come back stronger to conquer Hawaii.
The Cal Poly volleyball team fell to UC Santa Barbara 3-0 Saturday. After coming off a two-game winning streak, the team knew they had to work hard to get their momentum back.
Before the match, Santa Barbara was the highest efficiency team in the conference.
“It was a hard match for us to generate kills and to score points from our side of the net,” head coach Sam Crosson said. “Usually in volleyball, the team that hits for higher efficiency will win more times then not.”
In preparing for their upcoming match, the women will have to create a “better rhythm” offensively, Crosson said. Hawaii, who they play at home on Friday, is a high-efficiency attacking team as well, and Cal Poly will have to put more pressure on the service line to make the opponent more predictable offensively, he said.
“(There needs to be) more work with the setters in terms of location, tempo and decision making to generate kills.” he said, “Setting and attacking prospective is the main area that needs to be addressed.
Crosson has stressed the importance of serving, junior setter Shannon Garrett said. Lost points result from missed serves, which is the “biggest soul-crusher.”
“We have been working a lot on serving in practice because that is the initial way to score a point,” she said. “If your serves are good, it will be hard for a team to battle back.”
The key to serving is to make the volleyball float, Garrett said. The ball should seem as if it was not moving through the air — so still, she said, that someone could read the words on the ball.
“You don’t want any rotation,” she said. “The ball could move through the air and shift direction and drop.”
Precision is key as volleyball is “the game of inches,” assistant coach Chris Tamas said.
“There are times we have the chance to put the ball in the court and miss by an inch or so,” he said. “We have to come back and work on those things and improve our skill.”
Tamas doesn’t expect the girls to strive for that “spectacular, diving into the stands play,” but instead, have numerous good plays time and time again.
“A lot are based on fundamentals and how well we can execute those fundamentals,” he said.
Practices consist of high energy and communication. Diving left and right, the girls put in all their effort to improving those fundamentals.
Despite the kinks being worked out, middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald said she believes this weekend will be better.
“(Winning this weekend) is something we are capable of,” Gruenewald said. “We just have to get in the zone and practice.”
The mindset for playing Hawaii is “to just go,” Garrett said.
“That’s one of our mottos: Just go, go, go,” she said. “Don’t hesitate on any balls.”
Additionally, the team dynamic helps the performance on the court. The girls are cohesive and work together, Garrett said.
“I would call us a really close-knit family,” she said. “I think we spend probably eight hours a day together.”