WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams High School (WHS) volleyball team lost its home opener against Greyhills Academy on Sept. 6, dropping their overall record to 1-4 on the season. The Lady Vikes fought valiantly but lost both matches in their double header against the larger school from Tuba City, Ariz.
It took Greyhills two hours to win the first match in five sets, 31-29, 13-25, 25-12, 23-25, 15-7. After junior varsity played, Greyhills won in two sets, 25-14, 25-16, the varsity squads took the court again for their second match. Greyhills took the second match in four sets this time, 25-15, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22.
"That first match went two hours, it was a long game. We had extremely long volleys because everybody just kept picking up everything," said Jennifer Carter, WHS head coach. "I think that the team did really well considering that's one of the longest games we've ever played."
Carter said she felt her team played very well and the fact that it went to five sets shows that they could stay with them but also that they eventually were tired out. She said that that amount of time for one match was a lot for her players and they will definitely be working on conditioning going forward to get that stamina up in case they run into similar situations in the future.
It's still early in the season, and although they currently have a losing record, Carter said she is happy with her team's effort, attitude, and overall play.
"I believe that we're more competitive this year than we were last year," she said. "The one thing that is different with this team compared to other teams I've had in the past is that they're super competitive. They want to play well, they want to win, and their attitudes stay positive all the time. They never got down on each other or themselves at all during the matches."
Despite the double header loss, Carter knows the positive and negative things to take away from every match.
"They [Greyhills] had one or two hitters that could hit from outside or the back row and Jessie Durnez really put up the pass almost every time," Carter said. "They had some tough servers and they always seemed to find Jessie and she would just consistently put up the pass."
According to Carter, she feels the difference between winning and losing such closely contested games comes down to conditioning and power. The Lady Vikes have proven they have the teamwork, the passing, the attitude and the effort to win, but once they improve their conditioning and power game they will begin to see the results on the scoreboard.
"I think that we struggled in all of our hitting, whether it be middle or outside. I don't think that we ever could get a rhythm and I don't feel that we played a power game," said Carter. "Whether it be that we just couldn't get the set, the timing of the hitter, or thinking that they needed to tip the ball to put it where they [Greyhills players] weren't. I think that we would have faired better had we been able to play a power game. But on the flipside, that's where the whole stamina came in, it's hard to play power with such long volleys and not getting a break to catch our breaths. I think that hurt us.
"The times when we did have that power with Jordan [Pettit], April [Zicopoulos] or Bre hitting, they hit the ball to the ground and Greyhills wasn't able to pick it up. But we weren't able to capitalize on that, and we weren't able to keep that up all night long."
Carter described the double header loss to Greyhills as being very similar to the double header loss to River Valley High School on Aug. 30. WHS played an extremely competitive and close double header that night as well but ended up losing both matches. River Valley won the first match in four sets, 25-17, 25-12, 19-25, 25-17. Then it took five sets for River Valley to win the second match, 25-13, 20-25, 22-25, 29-27, 15-5.
"The fact that we stayed up with these teams these last few matches says a lot in and of itself," Carter said. "We're not consistent and powerful from our outside so I think that we use our middles more than we should to the point where we're not moving the ball around as much as we should. But we're working on it, we'll get there."
The Lady Vikes' next game is a home match against Camp Verde Thursday night at 6 p.m., preceded by the junior varsity match at 5 p.m.