Queen Creek Can’t Stay on Task in Loss to Chaparral
12 months ago Andrew Luberda 0
Last Tuesday’s volleyball match in Scottsdale, featuring No. 5-ranked Queen Creek and No. 4 Chaparral, figured to be highly contested, and it certainly was in the first set, which ended in favor of the Bulldogs, 25 – 23.
The next three sets, however, were not nearly as competitive as the Firebirds repeatedly and effectively used a setter dump to win three-straight sets, defeating the Bulldogs, 3 – 1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20).
“We scouted them, we knew their setter was going to dump a lot, and it’s frustrating,” Queen Creek head coach Erica Crismon said afterwards. “We knew it and we couldn’t stay on task long enough to take care of what we needed to.”
Inconsistency turned out to be the theme for the Bulldogs’ evening, even in the first set, when Chaparral erased a 21 – 17 deficit, tying the match before Queen Creek middle blocker Serena Caspersen’s kill accounted for one of the final two points to close out the set.
In the second set, Chaparral led 18 – 12 before Queen Creek took four of the next five points but added only one more the rest of the way. The Firebirds scored the first nine points of the third set before the Bulldogs rallied to trail, 14 – 7, which as close as they would get.
“(The dump play) was harder for us to read,” said Caspersen. “We’re not used to that, we haven’t played against it, so it was difficult. Pushing through during times like that is an obstacle we have to overcome and it’s definitely doable.”
In the final set, Queen Creek appeared to have made the necessary adjustments, leading 10 – 5 and then 15 – 8 before the inconsistent play displayed in the first three sets reappeared. Chaparral, which previously defeated Queen Creek during a tournament in September, stormed back to even the set, 16 – 16, on its way to the 25 – 20 result.
“From the beginning, there were some things that worried us,” Crismon said. “When we’re up by seven points and lose it’s just an inability to stay on task.”
Caspersen, a senior, sophomore outside hitter Jaelyn Hodge, junior Kate Grimmer and sophomore Savannah Bloom were among those who played well for the Bulldogs.
Hodge finished with 11 kills in the match, including four in the first set. Grimmer added nine kills and 22 digs. Bloom, a middle blocker, had four kills and a team-high three blocks.
Senior outside hitter and Sacramento State commit Claudia Wilson was limited and played only sparingly in her first game back after missing nearly a month with an injury.
With the playoffs approaching, Crismon looked at the silver lining in defeat: Adversity.
“When you’re coasting at the end of a season it feels good, but you’re always a little bit nervous,” Crismon said. “Having a struggle this late in the season could benefit us. If we face them again, hopefully the third time is the charm.”
The Bulldogs’ players remain confident.
“I think our attitude and the way we act on the court,” Hodge answered when asked what the team can learn from the loss that will help in the playoffs. “If we all play with energy and intensity we’ll be fine.”
Up next: Senior Night – Sahuaro at Queen Creek on Monday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m.