For The Tribune
The Trinity Lutheran volleyball team was swept 28-26, 25-18, 25-19 by Madison on Monday evening.
Cougars coach Chelsea Stroub said Madison brought a high-level team.
“They were a very good team, very scrappy,” she said. “They really had some good hitters.”
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The two teams seemed evenly matched in the first set. Neither team could pull away, and when one team would threaten to, they were quickly shut down.
The largest run was by the Cougars when senior Courtney Barker led the team on a 5-0 run to bring the score to 15-10.
The Cubs struck back with a run, and both teams traded points to make it 16-16. Both teams battled back and forth closely and the Cubs ended up taking the set 28-26 with the Cubs crowding the net at the end to closely secure the final point.
Stroub said the opening set was a challenge, and dropping such a close set was difficult.
“It was a really tough one, and tough game really,” she said.
The Cougars did not respond well in the second set by digging themselves into a hole. While things started positive with a 3-0 lead behind junior Abby Schult’s serving, they quickly found themselves down 16-8, and momentum seemed to be on the Cubs’ side.
The Cubs’ surge was led by Addy Hill. Hill recorded eight straight points before the Cougars earned a point back to stop the damage. They earned another point before returning the ball back to the Cubs to bring the score 16-10.
Madison then went on a small run and had a 23-14 lead. The Cougars did muster up some points after getting the possession back and scoring two points behind senior Sami Newmister but ultimately dropped the set 25-18.
Stroub said she was disappointed with how the team responded in the second set, adding that Madison was able to affect the team’s mentality.
“We came out really flat,” she said. “We got down by a lot … and we’re trying to get past that mentality where if we get down by a few points, it’s not the end of the world.”
Stroub said the she has worked on reinforcing the fact that the team needs to have more confidence in practice, but that it is a work in progress.
“They just have to individually know what they’re capable of and count on the one next to them,” she said.
The third set was much like the opening one. Both teams were neck-and-neck and neither would allow the other to pull away.
That was until the two teams were tied at 19 before Madison’s Ainsley Liter took the court to serve and won six consecutive points to give the Cubs the set and match win 25-19.
Stroub said the team’s difficulties lied mostly with its passing.
“We were also hitting right into their block every time,” she said. “We’ve got to be smart with our shots and hit the ball where they aren’t.”
The Cougars (8-9) will host Indianapolis Lutheran on Thursday.