Weaknesses show in West Shamokin loss
At least now West Shamokin's girls volleyball team knows where it stands in Section 1-A.
In a departure from the norm, the Lady Wolves (3-2, 3-2) are looking up at two teams in the section standings as they approach the halfway point of the season. Their 3-0 loss Tuesday night to section favorite and host Greensburg Central Catholic (5-0, 5-0), the No. 2 Class A team in the state, according to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association, left no doubt that they must improve considerably to fulfill their preseason plan of vying for a section title.
“We need to work on intensity,” said West Shamokin coach Justin Nolder, whose team also lost to Riverview. “Just getting excited about the small things and ecstatic about the big things.”
West Shamokin went through spurts of strong play during the loss at Greensburg Central Catholic. In the first game, a 25-19 loss, the Lady Wolves trailed 15-14 but then allowed a four-point run. West Shamokin rallied late in Game 2, a 25-17 loss, by winning six of the final seven points.
And in the third game, it actually led, 23-20, but gave up a five-point run to end the match.
A whopping 46 unforced errors, including 17 bad serves, stifled West Shamokin's ability to sustain momentum. High points such as back-to-back aces by both senior Jill Glover and junior Amanda Wensel or key blocks by junior Alecia Calhoun moved to the back of the Lady Wolves' minds when the breakdowns occurred.
“We get down on ourselves,” said Glover, who finished with 12 kills, three aces and a block. “We need to pick each other up and lean on each other.”
Nolder approved of the way his team blocked. But he wanted more confidence from his players when the time came to fire away.
“We didn't give them enough offense, and I guess that's what the whole match boiled down to,” Nolder said.
GCC also had its share of lapses, including 26 unforced errors.
“I didn't feel they played up to their abilities,” coach Heather Meyer said. “If they want to get where they want to get, they've got to do a lot better.
Senior Shannon Hurley led the Lady Centurions with seven kills, and Emma Dickson followed with six kills and three aces. Meyer said Greensburg Central Catholic missed opportunities to accumulate even more kills. So did Nolder.
“I expected them to bring it at us,” Nolder said. “I was disappointed that we didn't bring more at them, considering what we actually saw from them.”
West Shamokin shared section titles in 2008 and 2009, the last two times it competed in Class A. The Lady Wolves aren't ready to see the streak fall in their return to the lowest classification.
“The slant we're going to use going forward is we're learning from our mistakes, from our losses,” Nolder said. “We're going to use those lessons in the second half of the season.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303 ext. 1321.