September 04, 2013Momentum. One definition in the American Dictionary reads, "The driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events." Momentum in volleyball can be the difference between winning and losing.
Last Tuesday night, Crawford County had all the momentum one could give it in the first two games against visiting Springs Valley in a Patoka Lake Athletic Conference match-up. A major shift in the polar fields in the third game, however, proved disastrous for the Lady Pack, with the Lady Hawks using the momentum shift to rally from two games down for a 3-2 win.
Crawford County's Kayla Elsea goes to the deck for this return in the fourth game of the Lady Pack's 3-2 heartbreak loss to Springs Valley. Elsea also had 14 kills in the five-game slugfest. Photo by Wade Bell
"So close," Crawford County coach Angie Allen said. "Our girls played well.
We had some girls in there in tears tonight. They wanted this one. I wanted this one. It's our first PLAC match."
The Lady Pack had struggled the night before in a four-game loss to Christian Academy of Indiana and didn't have the best of pre-game practice sessions. When the match got started, however, the Lady Pack came out with a big hammer, rushing to a 10-3 lead, with Katie Tincher slapping in two service aces and a pair of kills in the run.
Crawford County continued to dominate, extending its advantage to 16-6 after a tip by Brooke Sauer, and the Lady Pack completed the win, 25-14, with Tylynn Allen acing on serve.
Valley struggled against the Lady Pack in game two, committing nine hitting errors as Crawford County took a 13-3 lead. Kayla Elsea punched in three kills as the run continued to 19-4. The Lady Pack kept Springs Valley off balance through the remainder of the game for a 25-13 win.
"We played awesome the first two games," Allen said. "We played really well."
Then came game three, which began with the two teams trading point for point to 5-all. Crawford County scored the next two points, with Hannah Pendley hitting into the net after a sideline save by Crawford County by Kayla Elsea, who followed with a service ace. The two teams then traded points before Faith Wesner scored on a kill.
Rebecca Pierce then bounced a kill off the legs of Tincher to tie the game at eight.
Another tie came at nine then Valley ran off a 9-2 run to lead 17-10 after three straight aces by Pierce. The Lady Hawks' momentum gained speed as Valley went on to get a 25-13 win.
"That third game was the momentum change," Allen said. "We played well. The momentum changed when their girls started hitting. (Pendley) was hitting really well, and that's mental aspect. Valley's confidence shot up, and our girls' confidence went down because of that."
Game four began the same way, but Crawford County gained enough momentum to get out to a 10-5 advantage. Wesner then aced on serve to start a 5-1 burst to close the game to two, 14-12.
Brooke Sauer killed for Crawford County on the next side-out, but Valley still had the momentum, scoring the next nine to lead 20-16. Crawford County pulled within two, but the Lady Hawks held on to get a 25-22 win, sending the match into a tiebreaker.
Valley jumped to a 6-2 lead to start game five. Elsea punched in two kills as Crawford County rallied to tie at 7, but Olivia Carnes and Wesner scored on kills and Allen hit into the net. Hannah Pendlley blocked for a kill, giving Valley an 11-7 advantage.
Alexis Bowling got back-to-back kills for the Lady Pack to close the gap to two. Pendley killed again, but then Valley erred twice and Sauer killed to tie the game at 12, giving new life to the Lady Pack. The two teams traded points on errors.
Valley then got back in front on another Crawford County error, and Pierce finished the match with a kill to the right side for a 15-13 win.
"We had some good hits," Allen said. "They just outsmarted us defensively. They started using two blockers on Brooke in the middle. She couldn't get around them. Then, our girls weren't ready defensively to come back and pick off the bounces off their blocks."
Elsea led the Lady Pack with 14 kills, and Sauer followed with 12 kills. Tincher had five kills and three service aces, and Bowling had four kills. The Lady Pack missed nine serves and had nine service aces and 18 errors. Crawford County's bench also got in some good minutes as Allen tried to slow down the Lady Hawks' momentum.
"Morgan Puckett came in and gave us a couple of hits there on the front line when we needed it," Allen said. "Mikayla Hammond came in and played some back row for us and a little bit of front row and gave us a couple of hits. They did well coming in and doing what we needed them to do at that time."
Pendley led Springs Valley with 18 kills and four aces on serve. Pierce had 16 kills and four aces, while Carnes finished with six kills. Wesner had four kills. The Lady Hawks missed 11 serves, but countered with 14 aces. Valley's early problems accounted for the 39 errors.
"I don't think Valley is any better than us," Allen said. "I told our girls they played with heart all the way through the game. It wasn't a matter that Valley wanted it any worse than us. It was just more that Valley came through and they just outsmarted our players with their blocking and stuff."
"I've told our girls, we have to look at it as if this is a training ground, a playground for us and keep taking and growing and learning," she said. "They are doing a lot better. Keep utilizing what they're doing so they can keep improving on it. As long as they are coachable and willing to listen and they're willing to give it 100 percent, 110 percent, they will be successful."