Hardin volleyball team ‘slump’ continues in five-set loss to Miles City

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Hardin’s volleyball team wasn’t at its best Saturday during an away game against the Miles City Cowgirls, where they lost in five sets. Earlier in September, they had defeated the Cowgirls in four.

According to Hardin Head Coach Tiffany Lynch, she could tell something was wrong with her team “from the get-go.”

“The first set, we won it 25-17, but it was just flat,” she said. “Miles City was flat, we were flat and it was just like, ‘Come on, you guys. You’ve got to get something going.’ And then they just stayed flat the rest of the match.

“Every team has something that holds them back and, for us, it’s that we play well when we want to. When we feel like it, when the mood’s right, we play well; and we need to get to a point where we just play consistently well regardless of our mood or the atmosphere.”

Final scores for the game after the first set were 23-25, 25-17, 23-25 and 6-15.

The Ladies “scored most of the points for Miles City” through unforced errors, Lynch said, which include serving the ball into the net or out of bounds. Most of the team errors, she continued, were rooted in hitting the ball too far away.

Simple mishaps were a mutual problem, middle hitter Mariah Simmons added, as Miles City’s setter kept “dumping” the ball once it reached the Cowgirls’ side.

“They made a lot of dumb errors as well,” Lynch said. “We just made more.”

Despite the problems with knocking the ball too far, defensive specialist Shaunita Nomee said, her team has managed to improve on its serving through the application of strong jump shots.

“Our serving percentages have gone up since we began serving a lot more aggressively,” she said, “but since it was an off night, we were all frustrated.”

The Ladies gained nine aces for the game – Simmons was in the lead with three, followed by libero Katie Murdock with two.

While the team is going through a “slump” at the moment, Lynch said, her team still has more than half of its season left and time to recover.

As the team gets “back to basics” to prepare for upcoming games, Lynch did note a change that paid dividends for Hardin: right hitter Alyssa Pretty Weasel and middle hitter Jonna Lind switched positions.

“Those two shined; they were amazing in those positions,” Lynch said. “If two people played exceptionally well, they were Alyssa and Jonna, considering they’re both in new positions.”

To make play “flow a little more smoothly,” Lynch said, she intends to try adjusting her team’s defensive positions.

Simmons scored the most kills this week with 15 of 46 total, setter Natalie Edgar prepared the most assists at 42 of 45, Murdock picked the most digs at 19 of 66, and Simmons and outside hitter Nicole Green caught the most blocks at one each of three.

The Ladies will play their Homecoming game against the Laurel Locomotives on Thursday, Oct. 4, followed by a tournament in Miles City on Saturday.

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