NEWTOWN – Of all the essentials going into a winning program, probably the greatest is heart. All the experience and talent certainly help but without the necessary desire, you’re bound to stall. As they showed in their crucial showdown with Pennsbury on Oct. 3, the Council Rock North girls volleyball team is definitely deep in the cardiac department.
Sarah Caola, co-captain and setter for North, aptly sums up the Indians strength. “Other teams try to exploit our weakness in height. We have two tall girls and that is about it. With volleyball, it’s an advantage to have tall people. However, we have a very strong defense with deep backs. Every single girl that passes is extremely talented. Our heart has been getting us through.”
To defeat previously unbeaten Pennsbury required more than good positioning. Sarah knew the girls had to believe they could do it. “The Pennsbury game is a good case in point. They hit hard. They have tough blocks. They have a really good defense. They are a solid team but our heart is what won us over…our energy…our attitude.”
The Indians coupled their desire with really knowing their foe. “A key was positioning. We are personal friends with every girl on that team so we know their tendencies. That was an advantage. For instance, Julia Vreeswyk is an incredible hitter. So we knew what to expect out of her. We adjusted our defense to what we thought their hitters’ tendencies were. We tried to get them out of their system by hitting at certain people. A lot of pregame strategy went into it.”
The scheme paid off as the Indians jumped out to a 25-23 lead after the first game. The Falcons were not to be denied and roared back to take game two, 25-20. “We were definitely nervous toward the beginning of the game. We knew it was a big opportunity for us and we all wanted it so badly.”
Having lost game two, Sarah and her teammates knew they faced a crucial third set. A loss would probably spell defeat. A win, on the other hand, would prove inspirational. “We had a lot of energy going into that set. We we’re coming off that loss and we used it as our impetus to come back strong. We knew they were not going to back down. We came back with the attitude that we can do this. We were all about determination.”
The desire paid off as the Indians took the third set by a rather easy 25-17 score, setting up an all-important game four. “I was ecstatic. We were playing so well. However, sometimes in volleyball, you can fall apart but the key is coming back. Coming back from the second game was key for us. Going into the fourth set, we were so determined to win that all other emotions were set aside.”
And win they did, taking the last set by a 25-19 margin. Understandably, the victory brought out a wealth of emotion from both the girls and their loyal fan base. “I felt accomplished but I knew that we could do it. I was incredibly proud of my team. I nearly cried tears of joy. So much emotion was built with it. I was so very proud of my team.”
Maddy Moore led the Lady Indians’ attack with 13 digs and 13 kills to go along with three aces. Ashley Kelly added nine kills to the Indian cause. Grace Schweizer had eight digs and five aces. Jill Schweizer had six digs. Alyssa Coates and Mackenzie fueled the offensive attack with 10 kills and six kills apiece.
As for Sarah, she played her usual outstanding game, setting up her teammates and hustling to all points on the court. She ended the game with 28 assists, four kills, five aces, five digs and one block.
“I’m a setter and I think my biggest role isn’t the actual volleyball but it’s the leadership that comes with it. I dictate the plays. I have to be the main source of energy for my team. I have to keep their attitude up.”
With leaders like Sarah, Council Rock North is destined to make its mark in the Suburban One League National Division.