WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams High School (WHS) Lady Vikes volleyball team (7-7) split its two home matches last week to remain at .500 for the season. WHS defeated the Ash Fork Spartans (8-8) on Oct. 9 in five sets (27-25, 23-25, 11-25, 25-20, 15-10) and lost to the Chino Valley Cougars (4-14) on Oct. 11 in three sets (25-16, 25-16, 25-15).
The Lady Vikes struggled mightily to pull out the victory against Ash Fork, a team they have played several times this season, usually winning decisively in three sets. They fell to Chino Valley in three sets, a team they defeated earlier this year, and did not look very competitive at any point during the match.
Head volleyball coach Jennifer Carter alluded to the fact that last week was homecoming week and the distractions proved to be too much and too costly for her players to overcome.
"I think this happens to be the worst week of volleyball season every year," the seven-year head coach said. "These girls are distracted and tired because there's so much going on. And in our volleyball matches it was evident that homecoming week put us in the situation we were in this week."
Carter went on to speculate that possibly her players' mentalities were also that of overconfidence against two teams they usually defeat, sometimes rather easily.
"We had mental errors left and right throughout the Ash Fork match. Watching the game, I am surprised that we won," said Carter. "I know that's harsh against the girls, and I was harsh against the girls at practice the next night, but there was no reason we should have been in that situation. My only explanation is that they were distracted because of homecoming."
The Lady Vikes beat Chino Valley in five sets earlier this season, so Carter knew going in that it could very well be a tough match, but definitely winnable.
"We started off very well, but things turned very quickly on us and shortly into the match we were not functioning well as a team," she said. "I had a couple of girls that are always on, that just had an off night. Then I had two girls get hurt in powder puff football that day, but both told me they were ready to play. And I think that factored in, they played but I think that their injuries affected the way that they played."
Carter summed up the Chino Valley match similarly to her evaluation of the Ash Fork match, the team simply made too many mental errors. She added Chino Valley had a great middle hitter that her blockers couldn't stop and every time she received a good set she would put the ball down on the ground and the Lady Vikes just could not pick it up.
According to Carter, the Lady Vikes never played a power game. She said her players were just not listening to her or each other, and they were not talking or communicating on the court.
"No team this year has beat us easily in three, we've always put up a good fight, even in matches we lost," Carter said. "Powder puff, the parade, all the other activities; my girls were tired, homecoming took its toll."
With their final four matches in three days this week, Tuesday and Thursday, the Lady Vikes still have a great opportunity to finish the year strong and close out the volleyball season with a winning record.
The Williams-Grand Canyon News went to print before WHS went on the road and played the Mayer Wildcats (7-13) in a double-header on Tuesday night. Senior night for the Lady Vikes will be Thursday, it is a home double-header against the Mohave Thunderbirds (4-9) at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and it is their final match of the regular season.