Spirits battling mental errors
Mistakes have been the catalyst for the Vanier Spirits all season.
© Katie Brickman
Stacey Light of Vanier tries to tip a ball over Katti Mullens (12) and Charisa Kienle (4) from Caronport during senior girls volleyball action on Tuesday evening in Caronport. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
That didn’t change on Tuesday evening either. Although it did look like it could have been the night they were going to break out of that slump, it just didn’t happen.
The Spirits lost in three straight sets (25-21, 25-17, 25-17) to the Caronport Cougars in senior girls volleyball league action in Caronport.
"Mental errors are the biggest thing. In the first game, they eliminated a lot of those and that's how we made it close,” stated Rick Bell, coach for Vanier. "In the next two games, those decisions at the net, whether they are trying for a block or just some of their swings...that's what bit us in the butt."
The Cougars came ready to pounce on mistakes and forced Vanier into making those errors throughout the match.
"They are quick and that confused us. We are trying to work on the shadow block on that, but give them credit —they are a good team,” said Bell.
The Cougars didn’t overpower the Spirits at the net, as Vanier has good attackers and blockers as well. However, the difference was the elimination of basic errors that plagued the Spirits late in the second and third set.
"They played well. The girls went out and they did what we practiced. That got us the win,” stated Brittany McNevin, coach for the Cougars. "We had a bit of a rough weekend at the tournament, but we regrouped in the playoffs and we got our second wind here.”
This was the final game of the regular season and now the teams will focus on playoffs.
Vanier will be concentrating on bringing everything together for one match.
"They upped their competitive level from what they were doing before. A lot of times in the last few weeks have just been a lack of effort,” said Bell. “Now we have the effort...we just have to clean up the mental part of the game."
The Cougars are in charge of their own destiny in the playoff push, as they have a bye to the semifinals, where they will host a game. They won’t just be satisfied with that, though.
"We want to play to win. We like to compete, so we are going to practice to win,” said McNevin. "I think they are doing a lot of good things and we are starting new things. Hopefully that will help us in the playoffs."
For the Spirits, not only will they need to bring everything together as their season is on the line, but it will come down to the girls on the court that will decide what their fate will be.
"It comes down to the girls and the mental preparedness of the game. They've got the skill (and) they've got the ability. I think they believe that, but sometimes just don't have the confidence in themselves,” stated Bell. “You can see that hesitation whether that be on the pass or set or swing. We just have to go there guns blazing and play our best games here on out. We can't afford the mistakes."
The playoffs will begin on Oct. 29 with quarter-final matchup and semifinals on Nov. 5.
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