Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Death Valley Volleyball 9/28

This afternoon was supposed to be a practice day for us. But Death Valley Middle School had contacted us early in the season and asked if we would be interested in playing a match against them?

I wholeheartedly encouraged the office to accept this offer. I figured it would be good for my players to have some competition that wasn’t the same local girls we see every week.

So the 7 member Death Valley Lady Scorpions, their coach and several parents made the 4-hour trek from their home in the desert to our home in the desert.

We hadn’t made any concrete plans about play format. I didn’t know how many games they wanted to play or against which of my two teams. But I assumed that if they were driving all that way to get here they would want to get in as many games as possible.

Once they arrived we discovered that they had one team of 8th grade girls with a couple 7th and 6th graders added to the mix.

Since they had to be back on the road in an hour and a half we decided to play two games against our 8th grade team, and two against our 7th grade team. Then if there was time available, we’d wing it from there on.

The 8th grade games were close. My players were volleying well, but their serving and serve receiving was a bit off. Well, actually they were better than they normally are, but not as good as they have been. We had several girls hitting overhand serves like they had spaghetti for arms - no strength. We lost both games, 20-25, and 22-25. I called a time out in the first game when the score was 16-23. My team managed a mini run after that but still fell short. In the second game they were down 18-23 when instead of calling time out I pointed out the score from the sidelines, told them they needed to start passing, right now. Then let them try and play their way back. They almost made it.

My 7th grade team was a little flat today. They committed more serving and serve receive errors than ever before. DV is probably they best team they have faced to this point. But they should have faired better. They lost the first game 10-25 and the second 16-25. I’m really impressed with their volleying skills in the second game. They gave away twice as many points on serve receive and service errors as the first game, and still managed to score 6 more points.

One note, in the first 7th grade game I had one of my players take a half-hearted swing at a pretty good set. She just slapped at the ball and it sailed about 2 feet to the floor in front of her. She sheepishly glanced my direction and I yelled over to her “Don’t be afraid to hit that ball like you mean it.” Three plays later she got another perfect set and this time she got her arm extended and swinging and made perfect contact with the ball. Her spike skimmed just over the net and with a pretty good amount of topspin drove straight for the floor right between two of DV’s back row players. It was without a doubt the best spike anyone on either one of my teams has hit all season. I need to get this player to keep that swing, add in a little jump (to start), and she is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

We had time for one final game. I wanted to put a team of my best 8th grade girls with my three 7th grade girls on the court for that last game. But I ended up with 6 of my 8th graders and 2 of my 7th graders. I’d like to say that we really shone that last game but we didn’t. The game stats were pretty much the same as the 8th grades second game. We controlled the ball and volleyed better in that game than the others. Combine that with this game being the DV girls 5th straight game and they were getting a little tired and we managed to squeak out a 25-23 win.

All in all it was a fun afternoon. I hope we can keep working out arrangements for more games with Death Valley. Maybe next year we can travel over there, or better yet we travel there and they travel back here again. We wanted to do that this year, but our schedules were already set and we just didn’t have an opportunity to fit it in.

1 comment:

Norma said...

"Death Valley Middle School had contacted us"

This whole phrase sounds really odd in Ohio. I wonder how it plays in Europe?