The Stanislaus State Volleyball team traveled to CSU East Bay to face the Pioneers for the second time this season on Tuesday, September 25. The Warriors started out strong leading the Pioneers two sets to zero. Unfortunately, things took a turn in the third set, and the Pioneers went on to win the match.
The Warriors came out with a fire that had been lit underneath them. They were excited and didn’t show any signs of stress or exhaustion from travel. They were ready to play and claim their second victory over the Pioneers.
Senior, Ramey Gardner said, “I think that our offense was on point last night. Sierra had a great game with 21 kills, I contributed 18 kills and Bre had 51 assists which was awesome! We also had some other people who stepped up in key moments.”
The team’s offense was dynamic, to say the least, however, while the offense may score the points, it is the defense that wins the matches, and that is where the team agrees they fell short.
Junior, Sierra had this to say about Tuesday night’s game. “We started off decent in the first two sets and then we started falling apart on passing and defense. We need to work on maintaining focus throughout the whole match and knowing that the game is not over until we have won three sets!”
“Our offense was very aggressive and demanding, but we had too many players mentally struggling which led to inconsistent serve receive and lack of focus on the match. I think we can improve our defense by being mentally tougher. It's tough to change our own mentality, but it comes with a maturity that our team needs to find,” states sophomore, Breanna Cannon. Cannon was one of the night’s leaders as she aided in controlling the team’s offense.
Coach Mallori was also hoping for a different outcome in the game, but she didn’t let that get her down. She was still able to recognize the positive and stay focused on the future. “Offensively, Breanna Cannon did a great job running our offense while Ramey Gardner and Sierra Adams took some big swings for us. Unfortunately, our defense was not as disciplined and efficient tonight. We will look to clean up our defense as we take on Sonoma and Humboldt at the end of the week.”
On the way home, rather than sit in sadness and sorrow, the girls decided to look at this time as an opportunity to discuss what needs to be improved before the next game. Breanna Cannon said, “On the way home, the vibe was very frustrated and almost no one wanted to talk. Although in my car, we did talk a lot about solutions to fixing our performance.”
It could have been easy for the girls, and Coach Mallori Gibson-Rossi, to blame the loss on many possible factors such as travel, the noise level of the fans in the gym, or being tired from the potential stress of travel. However, the team displayed much more integrity than that. They recognized their mistakes and where they could have done better. They accepted that what went wrong during the game was not only their fault but also theirs to change. They took this loss at face value and turned it into a growth opportunity.
The team has decided to focus on mental focus, mental strength, and defense. Coach Mallori said, “Yesterday and today, we watched the film to compare our lack of discipline in Tuesday’s match to other matches where we are being relentless on defense. It definitely clicked for the team to visually see what I was talking about.”
The team will be on the road for the next two games. On Friday, September 28, 2018, the Warriors will travel to Sonoma State University to face the Seawolves at 7 PM. Then, on Saturday, September 29, 2018, the Warriors will head up to Humboldt State University to face the Jacks at 5 PM. The women are hungry for a victory and to pick up another winning streak. The Seawolves currently hold a record of 7-8 and the Jacks hold a record of 3-10. Both of these records lower than the Lady Warriors’ record of 10-5, so this will be an interesting weekend for the women and their coach.