NEWTOWN — Trailing Archbishop Wood, 2 games to 1 and 15-9 midway through game four, Council Rock North bounced back with a 13-7 run to tie the game at 22-all.
While the Lady Indians lost game four — and the Sept. 4 match — with the visiting Lady Vikings, they showed an ability to rebound in the face of adversity, a quality every team needs in waging a successful campaign in the Suburban One National League (SONL).
“I told them if we could just bottle up all of the emotion — the competiveness, the fight, the fire — that we showed in that last 15 points of that fourth game, we could potentially, if we play like that, be unbeatable,’ said Indians head coach Kinsey Lynch.
“But they really have to believe it and they have to make less mistakes than the teams they are playing.’
An ace by North senior Krista Campbell actually gave the Indians a short-lived 23-22 lead in game four of the contest. Unfortunately, North failed to return the next two volleys and a kill by Wood’s Megan Cook all but sealed the match in favor of the Vikings.
North has been left reeling after opening the season with back-to-back 3-1 losses, first, to SONL rival William Tennent and then to Wood. Lynch says it’s too early to hit the panic button, however.
“I told the kids that they can’t let this dictate the remainder of the season; we have so many more games left to play.
“They have to keep their heads up and keep pushing.’
With graduation, the Indians lost three seniors including Second Team All-SONL middle hitter Miranda Sill, Second Team All-SONL outside hitter Lydia Redman (East Stroudsburg) and right-side hitter Alex Bovino. Still, Lynch expects this team to do well this year.
“In my mind, I had very expectations coming into the season,’ the coach said. “But given what’s happened the last two nights, clearly, we have more work to do.’
The match with Wood started off nicely enough with North leading 19-14 late in the first game. While the Vikes battled back to tie it at 22-all on an ace by Ashley McAfee, the Indians sealed a 25-22 triumph on a kill by junior Katie Rentz, and ace by senior Megan Hannagan and a kill by sophomore Hadley Grundman.
The Rock looked solid again in game two, taking a 17-13 lead late in the match. Gradually, Wood bounced back, tying the game at 20-all, then grabbing the last five points, the 25-20 victory capped off with an ace by senior Julia Wursta, whose service helped the Vikings to several long runs.
The Vikings took games three and four, winning 25-17 and 26-24, respectively.
“I think that we just played tense,’ stated Fynch. “I think there were moments when we were playing cautious when we really needed to be aggressive.’
While the volleys between the sides stretched sometimes into the double digits, North wasn’t winning the furious rallies between the sides.
“During those long rallies, the kids were playing tense because they just wanted to put the ball over the net,’ the coach explained. “They were swinging during a couple of those long rallies and we weren’t and I think that was the difference.’
Mental lapses at key points in the game also cost the Rock, Lynch said. The coach was referring to a free ball that hit the ceiling late in game three accompanied by a pair of service errors by North.
“We had these mental lapses where we would make crucial mistakes at very important times in the game — especially between points 20 and 25 in game three.’
“Those key moments in the game are so crucial. You have to be on point when the game’s on the line like that.’
While the coach acknowledged that the Indians played better against Wood than they did in the season opener with William Tennent, she says her team has “started the season in a really tough way.’
The coach WAS pleased with lineup changes that saw sophomore Morgan Collito and junior libero Devon Ceslak given significantly more minutes on the court.
For the game, Collito led the offense with 16 kills with Hannagan adding 11 more. Campbell added 41 assists while Ceslak came through with 40 digs.
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