Latrobe volleyball seeking improvement in second half
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Latrobe girls volleyball team isn't quite in the position it wants to be, but the signs of improvement are there.
Balls that used to find the floor are being played. Passing has become more crisp and accurate. The defense is gelling.
“It's been one of those roller coaster rides that comes from having a young team, having an inexperienced team,” coach Jordan Zuenges said. “I think we're starting to pick back up.
“When we played our best, it was better than the team across the court from us. But our worst was a lot worse.”
That proverbial roller coaster is climbing upward, and Zuenges' squad is fighting to keep it that way. The young offense of the Wildcats (2-5 overall, 2-4 in Section 1-AAA) is led by sophomore middle hitter Noelle Carota's 49 kills through the first six games. Sophomore hitter Aliesha Stas has 25 kills and senior setter Lauren Solomon has racked up 89 assists.
As the season progressed, consistency was brought about by change. A defensive adjustment made by Zuenges has worked well. Swapping Kelsey Paul and Katie Hendrickson resulted in each going a stellar 5 for 5 in dig attempts in Thursday's section match against Franklin Regional. Paul had been playing the No. 5 position, located in the back middle of the defense, where there is more space to roam. Hendrickson had been playing the 6 position in the back left. Zuenges switched the two because she figured their styles were better suited for the other's position.
“Kelsey is a stay-at-home defender who does best in her own space, while Katie does well at reading the play and reacting,” Zuenges said. “Both of those girls are very good defensive players, but because of the position change they are passing balls better than they were before.”
Earlier in the season, passing was sloppy, causing a chain reaction that usually ended with a poor play. Ball movement has improved since, resulting in less players being pulled out of position and making it easier for them to complete offensive sets. A kink the Wildcats need to work out is how they finish a play.
“That's the part we're struggling with,” Zuenges said. “We're putting it in play, but putting it right in the laps of our opponents. We're making it very easy for them to return the ball.
“As of right now, we need to work on our offense and when we have good defensive games, we counter it with good a good offensive game and, hopefully, we can string something together.”
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.