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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Tiger Cubs struggle with bigger Sullivan squad, loses in three sets

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ellen Gobert hits a shot during Wednesday's contest against Sullivan. [Order this photo]
Coming off a five-set marathon loss to Southmont Tuesday, the Greencastle volleyball team faced a tall, power hitting Sullivan squad. The Tiger Cubs lost in three sets 25-8, 25-10 and 25-16.

The biggest issue for the Tiger Cubs against the Golden Arrows was the net prowess of their opponent, especially Rhagen Smith. Smith gave the Tiger Cubs fits all evening long by either blasting powerful shots at the GHS squad or deflecting or altering the Tiger Cubs' hits at the net.

"The problem is, and I don't know how to say this diplomatically, they've got people who can jump and go up and over our tallest players," head coach Liz Spencer said. "When you have a person who's a go-to person and can put the ball away, we have to rely on more finesse. And if our timing is off, our legs are tired, we don't have that ability to go up and over people."

Greencastle never found itself in game one, allowing Sullivan to jump out to a 7-1 lead early and go on to win 25-8. While game two had a similar score at 25-10, Greencastle began to show that while they couldn't match Sullivan at the net, they could hang with them using other skills.

The Tiger Cubs utilized some nice passes to create opportunities for their hitters upfront beginning in the second game. Chances began to materialize in the third game and GHS took advantage when they could.

The five-set defeat Tuesday showed at times in Wednesday's match as Greencastle struggled at times to hit its marks and put themselves in position to capitalize on Sullivan's miscues.

Sullivan ran out to an 11-2 lead and looked poised to make the third game a quick one. However, Greencastle refused to give in and gave the Golden Arrow everything they had.

Greencastle continued to battle, chipping away at the lead, cutting the lead to 20-10 in favor of Sullivan. With the score 22-12, Shelby Earl served up an ace to get GHS going. Greencastle scored its final point of the night on an ace from Alex Basile.

In the end, Sullivan was just too strong for the Tiger Cubs as they won the final game 25-16 and took the match in three sets.

Spencer acknowledged the toll Tuesday's loss had on the team.

"With the exception of the first game, we played them a whole lot better this year than we did last year," she said. "Once we got in a rhythm, our girls were in the right place. Ellen was working her tail off to get our hitters some good set and then we were just tipping and not being aggressive.

"Some of that goes, and I'm not making excuses for them, but we lost a five-set game last night at Southmont, so they were just drained emotionally," Spencer added.

"I thought Ellen (Gobert) and Kara (Birt) passed the ball really well. Alex finally got in a groove. We still don't understand how hard we have to practice to be ready for a game," Spencer said.

She went on to say the team needs to focus more on practicing at game speed so they'll be able to see the benefits when game time rolls around.

At Greencastle

Sullivan 25 25 25

Greencastle 8 10 16