Hawks prioritize development
By Darren Lum
Two dominant victories, one against the visiting Brock Bulldogs and the other against the Titans of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary were just a byproduct of the development of the senior Red Hawks girls’ volleyball team, said their coach Steve Smith.
The Hawks beat the Bulldogs 2-0 (25-22 and 25-20) and then beat the Titans 2-0 (25-17 and 25-14).
The exhibition home wins on Monday, Jan. 13 at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School provided Hawks supporters plenty to cheer for and gave the players confidence, but for Smith this time of the season with exhibition matches is about learning, developing and working to meet the team’s potential for a deep run into the playoffs, which begin in February.
“Wins will help their confidence, but, as I said before, losses actually help with their development as well because then they don’t think they can win every time they go out. I want them to have that attitude when they get on the court that they can win whatever, or whoever they play,” he said. “Today, they’re going in the right direction.”
The team demonstrated the ability to raise their level of play, stringing together several deep, low and hard serves, and employing an effective attack even when the initial return of serve pass is not cleanly taken. Against the Bulldogs and Titans it was apparent their level of play was superior.
Although the win and loss record on the day isn’t that important, the score does provide quantified information for evaluation. Smith said the close match with the Bulldogs was partly owed to being at home.
“The first match I think they were just nervous with being at home, or whatnot. We had a little talk about that. I tried to get them to settle down and just play their style of volleyball, which they did. That’s the volleyball that I know of right there,” he said, referring to composed play, strong serving and passing with precision.
Smith said the team is trending in the right direction during their exhibition matches before the Kawartha qualifier.
“Every match, every point I see some improvement,” he said.
The team includes Alexis Mills, Alyssa Bogardis, Ania Smolen, Emma Casey, Gillian Rosik, Haley Boylan, Jordyn Nichols, Rebecca Archibald, Ruthie Parker and Skye Lambshead.
The captains of the senior team are Emma Casey and Rebecca Archibald. The coaching staff for the seniors includes Michelle Backus.
Junior Hawks win and split matches
One court over, separated by a space for warm-ups, the juniors were also playing concurrently.
They won 2-0 (25-13 and 25-14) against Brock to open their afternoon, but tied the Titans 1-1(25-11 and 22-25) to finish the day.
Coach Dan Gimon said he was happy about the team’s overall performance.
However the lone loss was attributed to a loss of mental focus and the team will move on and improve from what he called a “terrible” last set, which saw a loss of 10 points to serving errors mainly.
Gimon said he knows the team can be better.
It’s the mental part that, again, we will work on,” he said. “We have to get those serves over.”
His message to the team was simple: “It’s up to you guys. I can tell you what to do, but once you’re out there you guys have to perform,” he said.