RBHS volleyball loses 1-3 against Helias Catholic High School, addresses team vulnerabilities

RBHS+and+HCHS+huddle+with+their+teammates+after+RBHS+scores+a+point+during+the+fourth+set.+Photo+by+Bailey+Blackburn.

Bailey Blackburn

RBHS and HCHS huddle with their teammates after RBHS scores a point during the fourth set. Photo by Bailey Blackburn.

Shubha Gautam, News Editor

After a quick two-set junior varsity win, the varsity RBHS volleyball team played against the Helias Catholic High School (HCHS) volleyball team Wednesday, Sept. 28. RBHS lost 1-3, losing the first set, winning the second and losing the third and fourth sets. The match marked the team’s second loss midway through their season. The players maintained a tight formation throughout all four rounds, with senior setter Ella Swindle exhibiting an active leadership position and the rest of the team on court defending the net with middle blocker senior Kyra Thomas.

Ranked first in the state, the team expected to win against their opponents. Trevor Koelling, varsity volleyball coach and permanent substitute teacher at RBHS, said. Koelling said the game was one of their lowest nights in terms of gameplay and that the team lacked chemistry, hindering their cohesion and ability to serve and receive.  

“I think we had our heart there. I think the effort was there,” Koelling said. “I don’t think we executed some of the scouting […] as best as we could. At times we had individual players play amazing. But as a team, I feel like we lacked some chemistry, and that’s where my expectation differs from what I would have said before they’ve been.”

Senior defensive specialist Carleigh Snow agreed with Koelling that the match did not represent the team’s true ability. Since they won consistently in the past, Snow believes the team underestimated HCHS and was unable to match their mental game, as their opponent came into each set with more energy and confidence. Physically, though, Snow said RBHS was able to limit the number of runs they took and blocked effectively. She also highlighted senior outside hitter Lilly Dudley’s performance.

“I think all of us collectively did really well,” Snow said. “Lilly [Dudley] did really [well] with hitting tonight and our blocking was really good, especially whenever we blocked them three times in a row. That was really fun to watch.”

Koelling also recognized Dudley’s performance, who scored 18 points during the game. She was a leader, passed well and overall played well, he said.

“Even though we struggled at times tonight,” Koelling said, “I think [Lilly Dudley and Ella Swindle] lived up to the expectation of leadership and accountability.”

I think we had our heart there. I think the effort was there. I don’t think we executed some of the scouting […] as best as we could. At times we had individual players play amazing. But as a team, I feel like we lacked some chemistry, and that’s where my expectation differs from what I would have said before they’ve been.”

— Trevor Koelling, RBHS varsity volleyball coach

Dudley did not have any concrete expectations going into the game but said RBHS likely focused too much on their side of the court. Like Snow, she said the opponent’s mental game was stronger and stayed consistently energetic throughout the match. The technicalities of the game led to RBHS’ downfall in the middle of the match, wavering their mental attitude and hindering their blocking and serving as the game went on. 

“I would like to improve on communicating with my teammates. I know that I could have been better with helping [bring] other people up,” Dudley said. “I think I focused a lot on myself and my game, and looking [back at] that I could have tried to help other people out.”

Though the loss was unanticipated, Koelling sees it as a learning opportunity and is glad it happened at this point in the season and not later. Snow and Dudley both said that the loss exposes the team to its vulnerabilities and goes to show it is not unbeatable. 

“We’ve been ranked number one [in the] state for a really long time, and I think this is a good eye-opening experience for all of us because […] it shows us that we’re vulnerable,” Dudley said. “We’re beatable. And I think it’s going to help us out in the long run.”

How do you think RBHS volleyball will do this season? Let is know in the comments below.