Andover volleyball coach Sue Coffman thinks her front line can attack with the best of them, but the Trojans don’t always have a chance to prove it.
Tuesday night was a perfect example. Andover Central was the superior passing team. That led to more kills for the Jaguars, which led to them defeating the Trojans 25-21, 16-25, 25-16.
“Our passing was off a little bit and we were forced to tip,” Coffman said. “Well, that just sets them up for another attack.”
The Jaguars took advantage.
“When the perfect pass and the perfect kill happen, that’s when you get momentum,” Central middle hitter Meg Huelskamp said. “And you just have to ride with it.”
Before facing each other, the teams each defeated Goddard in two sets. Andover won 25-11, 25-10 and Central won 25-13, 25-14.
In the feature match, Andover was the team with all the momentum going into the third set. The Trojans never trailed in the second set. It was tied at 16 when they scored the last nine points – with Regan Peare’s kill providing the explanation point.
In that set, the Trojans played confident. They played loose. They weren’t afraid of making mistakes.
“Yeah, that’s actually been one of our challenges all year,” Coffman said. “We don’t want to make mistakes and we get a little conservative when things get tight. Someone we got through that in that game and let (Central) make the mistakes. Our hitting is awesome, but we need to use it more.”
The Jaguars never trailed in the third set. Just like that, they got their mojo back.
“I’m very impressed with the way we came back,” Central coach Rachel Tyner said. “In the second game you could see our heads drop. We just have those moments where we completely shut down and it takes a lot to be able to dig ourselves out of it.
“Everything we do is going for the kill. Otherwise, we’re just standing around and watching.”
Huelskamp was proud of the Jaguars’ ability to regroup, and said they fed off the energy of the Jaguars’ fans in the Trojans’ gym.
“Our front row does a really good job of looking at each other and know who’s on right then,” she said. “And our back row was putting up awesome passes. Our capability to win relies on everyone else.”
Andover, which was 5-27 last year, is now 20-10. Central, which started this season 3-7, improved to 23-13. It was the second time this season the Jaguars defeated the Trojans in three sets.
“In midseason, you’re either one of the teams that steps up or one of the team that falls,” Huelskamp said. “We had a slow start, but we’re starting to find our rhythm and hopefully it continues to flow.”