Cover photo credit: Conor Revell
Conor Revell, Louisville Catholic Sports Network
The Holy Cross volleyball team is searching for its identity and will to win after losing to host Manual 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 Tuesday night.
“I’m not surprised with how we’re playing right now with the culture of our practice,” Holy Cross head coach Danielle Wiegandt said. “I just challenged my six seniors to change the culture of our practices. If they don’t, then I’ll find some underclassmen that will. We haven’t been practicing well so that’s why we aren’t winning.”
Manual (3-3) dominated the frontline delivering 40 kills while the Cougars (8-6) only mustered 29 kills.
Indigo Lemke and Briana Nicholson led the Crimsons with nine kills. Stacy Henley added eight kills for the Crimsons.
“Our defense needs to get quicker,” Holy Cross libero Adyson Medley said. “We need to be more scrappy and have less mishandles. We need to focus on our blocks. If our defense isn’t there, our hitters aren’t there. We need to block the ball and when we have a pass we need to execute.”
Beth Newton led the Cougars with six kills while Halle Snyder and Hannah Bickel both added five kills.
“A lot of our miscues are coming from verbal communication and a little bit from leadership,” Holy Cross senior outside hitter Beth Newton said. “A thing that we’re missing as a whole is verbal communication in every aspect of the game.
“On service feeds you don’t know if the person next to you is going to be aggressive. You have to know if your setter is going to go after each ball. The setter needs to know that her hitters are going to be aggressive and want the ball. And, right now, we don’t have that. We might have it here and there but we don’t have it as a whole. Communication is probably the biggest part of this game; our skills will follow. Until we start verbally communicating, we aren’t going to have much success.”
While the Crimsons swept the Cougars, there were 31 ties in the match.
Neither team controlled the first set as the game featured 11 ties. The Cougars’ 15-12 lead had been the largest.
Lemke fired away kills on three of game’s final four points giving the Crimsons a 1-0 lead.
“I think we started to stay in system,” Manual head coach Tim O’Connell said. “That enabled us to score and our passing was very good in the back row. Holy Cross isn’t a huge team across the front so you’re able to hit against them but you have to be able to get the ball to your hitters. Our passers were playing excellent and they provided some balls to my setter that you can do something with and took over.”
Game two featured nine-ties. With the scored tied at nine, Henley fired away a kill for Manual and her team never trailed again.
The third game went through 11 ties. Holy Cross and Manual were tied at 18 but another Henley kill doomed the Cougars.
Holy Cross would have three chances to tie it but never could pull through.
“I told them last week that it doesn’t look fun,” Wiegandt said. “It looks like torture; it looks like a death march. Quite honestly everything feels like a struggle, nothing is coming to us very easily. I don’t know if it’s a fear of making errors but I challenge them too swing hard and make aggressive plays. I’m fine with that and it’s something that I need to figure out.”
The Cougars have now lost four of their last six as the team searches deep down for some heart and desire to turn around their season.