After playing four tough matches in the Pioneer Kickoff Classic on Saturday at Providence, the Trinity Lutheran volleyball team came out a little slow on Monday for its home opener against Henryville.
It didn’t take long for the Cougars to get some momentum, and once they did, the Hornets really struggled.
Trinity went on to sweep Henryville 25-15, 25-10, 25-9.
“We played really tough matches on Saturday, so it’s kind of hard to switch gears after playing so hard and then getting ourselves back up mentally,” head coach Faith Wilder-Newland said. “I thought our hitters were early, we were planting under the ball, but after we got going, I thought it got a lot better.”
The first set was tightly contested through the first couple points, but Trinity extended its lead out to 17-10, forcing a Henryville timeout, and that’s when the Cougars could sense it.
Madison Keith ended the first set with an ace. Bailey Tabeling, Carson Bowling and Addison Darlage each had three aces to lead the team.
The second and third sets were when the Cougars really started to hit the ball well. Bailey Tabeling had moments where she brought the house down with how hard some of her kill attempts ricocheted off the floor.
The senior finished with a game-high 14 kills.
“She provides a spark of energy and enthusiasm,” Wilder-Newland said. “We all love to see her hit. It’s a ‘wow’ factor to have some of those booming kills.”
On a night like tonight, Wilder-Newland wanted to see other hitters get involved aside from Tabeling, and she thought Trinity did a good job getting those outside hitters more reps. Bowling had nine kills and Drew Hubbard had eight kills.
That’s mainly due to the passing of setter Addison Darlage, who had 35 assists on the night.
“Addison Darlage is just golden,” Wilder-Newland said. “She makes it look easy. I think Addi does just great things.”
Wilder-Newland was also pleased with Hubbard, complimenting her service game and left-front defense. Laura Roeder led the team with 12 digs while Tabeling had four.
After losing three really talented seniors — Ruthie Bingham, Stella Kleffman and Kamzi Gross — who are all playing collegiate volleyball this fall, Wilder-Newland thinks the biggest area Trinity is working on after losing that trio is communication.
Wilder-Newland also thinks the Cougars’ serve-receive is “getting there.” Because of how much Trinity grew its leads in the second and third sets, being up doubles digits for a majority of each one, Wilder-Newland was liked how many players she was able to get in the match to provide varsity reps and experience.
Before the varsity won, the Cougars’ JV team won in two sets 25-11, 25-21.
Trinity will now have nine days before competing again on Aug. 25 at Franklin. Wilder-Newland said the team will use that time to clean up the things she’s noticed over the first five matches.
“I’m actually going to like it because on Saturday we saw some things that we’ve got to really work on,” she said. “We’re gonna make use of watching some tape and really doing some intense training that we need.”