Opening the ACCA National tournament against the home town favorite was exactly what Coach Spooner wanted. “I’ve always believed the best time to upset the favorite teams are early in tournaments. Calvary has been playing very well lately and are seeded #3. We have to be ready to match their energy and minimize our mistakes.”
In the first set the Tigers did just that. Behind offensive power from Joee Spooner and Naomi Kemper, the Tigers jumped out to an early 9-4 lead. Calvary with their own All-American Libero of the Year player came right back but the Tigers continued to play flawless volleyball. “This was clearly the way we are capable of playing and I was very happy with our energy and focus.” Coach Spooner said. The Tigers also got outstanding serving and beat the tournament undefeated Calvary team 25-23.
But in the second set some old patterns emerged and the Tigers quickly found themselves in a deep hole losing 25-11. “When a team plays so well in one set then struggles like that in the immediate set to follow, there is certainly a lack of focus and attention to playing in the context of who we are. Youth and inexperience emerges and we ended up beating ourselves.” A visible distraught Coach said. “We had 0 attach errors, O serve errors, and outstanding serve receive and passing in that first set but I told the team Calvary is going to come back hard and we just didn’t match their intensity.”
Calvary continued their dominant serving keeping the Tigers out of any kind of offensive consistency for the next two sets, eventually winning the match 3-1. “We beat a lot of good teams one set, we have to move beyond that to the match. The silver lining is realizing how far we actually have come this year and even now anticipating what can happen next year with this entire team coming back.” Coach Spooner said following the match.