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Volleyball team still optimistic despite loss to Sierra

Britni Alford

Freshmen outside hitter Gabrielle Hinz spikes the ball as Sierra College prepares to block the ball on Nov. 9.

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The volleyball team was unable to claim victory in any of the three sets and lost to Sierra College on Nov. 9.

“We’re being tentative at times,” Hawks’ Head Coach Natalie Wells said. “Because we‘re a young team, we’re not as confident as we could be in situations where we can take games and close out. If we just come out confident and knowing that we’ve got this skill base, I think that’ll help.”

In game one, Sierra College freshman setter Madisen Macauley took advantage of a vulnerable Hawks’ defense with several point-winning serves.

With Sierra leading 14-5, an extended rally that could have changed the momentum in favor of the Hawks was ended by a strike from another strong opponent, Sierra freshman Ashley McElhaney.

“We have a hard time sticking to our positions and not interfering with our teammates,” said Hawks’ freshman outside hitter Gabrielle Hinz.

A spike from Sierra sophomore middle hitter Julia Dorsey concluded the first match at 25-7.

But the game wasn’t over, and  the Hawks’ spirits were unhindered. During the break, Wells participated in an inspiring rendition of “Gangnam Style” for her team.

“We’re having fun,” said Hawks’ sophomore middle hitter Rose Koloamatangi. “During the whole season, we were just going through the motions, but today we had fun and we played as a team.”

The second match saw the Hawks intensify their game. Hinz battled back with her opponents when she patted the ball over the net and scored a point.

The team also appeared to recognize Sierra’s strongest players in the previous match, with Hawks’ sophomore outside hitter Hoang Nguyen often venturing outside her position to intercept McElhaney’s strikes.

Freshman setter Candace Boehman and Hinz managed to win several extended rallies during the course of the second match. But Sierra persisted, and McElhaney landed the set point, winning the set 25-20.

“We had a slow start,” said Hawks assistant coach Chris Banks. “But we came in on the second and third game with a little more energy and our hitting took off.”

Hawks’ freshman setter Laura Villano initiated the third game. Again, the match started out closely contested. Koloamatangi’s powerful strikes allowed the team to gain some leverage, and Sierra’s focus appeared to weaken with many out-of-bounds shots.

Soon after, Nguyen destroyed Sierra College’s momentum with a quick strike. A five-point streak followed, and the match was closing in at 21-19, with Sierra leading.

The streak was stopped dead after Hinz failed to intercept another hit from McElhaney. Sierra College fought back, and the match ended at 25-9, with an out of bounds hit from Hinz.

Banks is confident that the team can fix its communication for the end of the season.

“We were a little quiet on the court. We struggle with it. We have a couple more practices to improve.”

Nguyen, a noticeable presence on the court that night, was optimistic about the result.

“Compared to what we have done with them in the past, we fought our best today,” she said.

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Volleyball team still optimistic despite loss to Sierra