Volleyball: Spikers overcome first-match jittersFirst-year coach Smokey Vitek felt the Irish were nervous in their season-opening 3-2 win at Faribault
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
For a team with a new coach and several players receiving their first significant varsity action, some first match nervousness was to be expected from the Rosemount volleyball team.
The fact the Irish opened against a team playing its second game was also apparent.
The first game of the season is often one of the toughest mental games. However, Rosemount overcame its jitters to earn a 3-2 win at Faribault.
“I think we started out a little nervous,” first-year coach Smokey Vitek said. “We made a few mistakes the first match. I think it was kind of the nerves and not having played before. They had played a match. That was to be expected.”
The Irish lost the first game, 25-22, but came back to win 25-23 and 25-21 in the next two games. After a 25-21 loss in the fourth game, they recovered for a 15-9 win in game five.
“Our offense was terrific if we could get the ball to our hitters,” Vitek said. “We need to work on our ball control part of the game, serve receive and on defense. We had too many errors in that area. Overall it was a very good match.”
The troublesome passing came as a surprise to Vitek.
“It was a little bit because of nerves,” Vitek said. “If you would have asked me two weeks ago, I didn’t think that would be where we would struggle. Two weeks ago I thought it would be our strength. It was a little bit of a surprise.”
While Vitek wants the Irish to run a 6-2 offense with two setters, the initial struggles led Rosemount to use a single setter in the later games against Faribault.
Mikaela Sullivan, who received varsity setter time last season, finished with 43 assists in the game.
“We just struggled to find any rhythm,” Vitek said. “So we were going with Mikaela. It wasn’t about the other setters. We were just trying to find the rhythm and work on that. But we need to be running a 6-2 against other teams as we continue this season.”
Elaine Warner led the Irish with 19 kills and seven blocks. Warner’s 19 kills came on just 38 attempts and she was error free.
“It means she hit .500, which is phenomenal,” Vitek said. “Most people are around 30 percent. She was at 50. That is an impressive stat.”
Ali Fromme finished with 18 kills.
“We made very few errors,” Vitek said. “Our hitters kept it in play or put it down. Faribault was great defensively and that can frustrate hitters and make them try to do the impossible. But our hitters kept really consistent swings. When they needed to, they kept the ball in play and when they needed to, they put it away.
“We ran an effective middle against them and it helped set things up outside, giving our hitters one-on-one chances against their blockers. We really spread out our sets evenly.”
Nicole Valentini had a team-high 23 digs.
Rosemount has a road game at Park tonight. Next week brings road games at Farmington and Hastings, before the Irish host their first match on Sept. 13.