Host Bison struggle at McCook volleyball meet
McCook High School head volleyball coach Krystal Weber would love to have at least one of her Bison girls put on some big shoes in the coming weeks.
The host Bison lost all three matches in the McCook Invitational Saturday, Sept. 18, with errors being a common theme for McCook in all the defeats.
McCook opened with a 25-19, 25-16 loss to Chase County in first-round action Saturday morning at the Senior High gym. The Bison stayed competitive but still lost a 25-19, 25-17 decision to Sidney in the consolation bracket semifinals.
In the seventh place final, McCook struggled in a 25-8, 25-2 loss to Alliance.
Minden defeated Cambridge in straight sets (25-20, 25-13) to claim the tournament championship. Cambridge beat Sidney in three set (19-25, 25-21, 25-14) in first-round action, and Minden opened with a 25-16, 25-21 win over Alliance.
In the semifinals, Cambridge outlasted Chase County 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, and Minden beat Southwest, 25-17, 20-25, 25-20.
Southwest got to the semifinals with a first-round win over a tough Decatur Community squad from Oberlin, Kansas. The opening-round battle of one-loss teams went to the Roughriders, 25-22, 25-14.
Southwest beat Chase County, 25-23, 25-23, in the third-place final, and Decatur Community bounced back to win two straight matches, including a 25-12, 22-25, 25-15 win over Sidney for fifth place.
A step backward
Coach Weber said her team took a step back with the tough loss to Alliance in the seventh-place final at the Junior High gym late Saturday.
"We have a lot of things to work on, but what was most disappointing is we keep on talking when we step on the court, we want to make sure we get better every time," Weber said. "We thought we played OK at times against Chase County. We thought we played better against Sidney and we thought we would be able to go out and play even better against Alliance. Unfortunately that didn't happen.
"It's a great group of kids. They want to play well, they know what they need to do. We just physically need to learn to get the job done, physically and mentally."
The Bison have just four returning letter winners back from last year, and all four were freshmen in 2009. Weber has just four seniors and one junior on the roster this fall.
The McCook coach would love for one or more of her girls to take a leadership role.
"We play with hesitation. We don't have a leader that steps up and plays all the time," Weber said. "We don't have that go-to person that we know that if we get into a bind, we know we can give it to this person and they can get us out of the jam. We don't have that right now. We're lacking that leadership, and we're working on exercises with the kids (in practices) trying to build leadership.
"Somebody needs to step up and get it done. It doesn't have to be one person."
McCook statistics leaders
Kassidy Gillen hit 8 kills against Chase County to lead McCook. Rachel Goltl added 5 kills, 1 block and 5 defensive digs. Brooklynn Trew had a strong game with 15 set assists and 7 defensive digs. Trew, Sydney Clapp and Morgan Schaeffer each recorded 1 ace serve.
In the Sidney match, Clapp got going with 8 kills, and Gillen added 6. Gillen also had 2 ace serves. Trew played well again with 19 set assists and 4 digs.
Clapp and Riley Allen hit 2 kills each against Alliance.
No 'mo' for final match
Alliance now has just three match wins this season, and the Bison ended the tournament with a 1-8 record. The two teams will compete at the Class B-6 District meet in Ogallala in early November, and Coach Weber was hoping to gain some momentum with a win over the Bulldogs Saturday.
"It was one of the things we talked about heading into it was that it was a big match for us -- it was a way to end the day and maybe come out with a win," she said. "It was against a district opponent. We felt that we were matched up fairly well with Alliance. Unfortunately, we came out right in the first set and our hitters were doing the opposite of what they were being told to do. So we started out lot of errors in the beginning and those errors seem to compound on top of each other.
"Everyone was making the same errors, so it was very frustrating for the kids and coaching trying to figure out how to get ourselves out of that."
Errors were critical for the Bison in Saturday's other losses.
"Sidney, we played with them point-for-point for most of the sets," Weber said. "We get to crunch time and we would make an error, and one error evolved into another error. It happens so quickly we have a hard time pulling out of those errors. We just make a lot of errors at inopportune times during the matches. It's a game of momentum, and when you lose that momentum it's really tough to get it back.
Against Chase County, Weber said her team was strong in the first set before the Longhorns pulled away. Then service errors and passing errors hurt McCook's chances.
The Bison travel to Hastings Thursday to face the host Tigers and St. Paul.