Sports

Arlington volleyball needs work

:  Arlingtons Ryanne Mueller smacks this kill down on the Monroe defense during the Eagles Oct. 18 match. -
: Arlingtons Ryanne Mueller smacks this kill down on the Monroe defense during the Eagles Oct. 18 match.
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First year coach Cari Britt has faced a huge task this season in rebuilding the Arlington volleyball program. The team has not enjoyed much success in recent years and Britt was brought in to lead them into a new era. The early results have been predictable and Arlington lost another tough match to Monroe on Oct. 19.
Monroe was much taller than the Eagles, with one outside hitter being recruited by all the big schools of college volleyball. Still, Arlington looked competitive in the first set and showed they could stick around. It was sets two and three where Monroe asserted themselves and won 25-17, 25-11, 25-13.
Its mental with our girls, said Coach Britt following the game. They are not accustomed to winning, they havent developed the mental toughness necessary. We give up too soon, I dont think we lack talent.
For the audience in attendence that talent can be tantalizing. Arlington played pretty good volleyball in first set, particularly Breanna Covey and Amanda Bottini. Covey directed some well placed kills to keep the game close early and Bottini fooled Monroe with a tip kill to make the score 5-9. Kelsey Czban did a good job at the setter position putting her hitters in positions to score. Where Arlington struggled was giving Czban crisp passes to set. That made consecutive points hard to come by.
A Covey block on a midcourt spike from Monroe made the score 12-15 and Covey scored again for the Eagles, picking out the deep left corner on her next spike attempt to pull Arlington within two points. From then on, Monroe took control and pulled away steadily. A dual block from Covey and Allison Taylor made the score 15-23 but Arlington would get no closer.
In game two Arlington struggled to find a rhythm. A Covey block made the score 1-2 but Monroe was serving aces and the Arlington back row struggled to feed Czban the ball. Not until Taylor finished a nice tip kill to make the score 4-14 did Arlington produce a winner on offense. Czban served a couple points for the Eagles and Bottini claimed a nice block to make the score 11-21 but again the strong Wildcat attack overwhelmed the Eagles.
Game three saw a quick start from Arlington, led by a Breanna Covey kill and block to make the score 2-0. There wasnt much left in the tank for the Eagles as they could not build their lead and watched as Monroe climbed back in front. Czban served an ace to make it 5-11 and later made an impressive dig near the net to help the Eagles win a long point and get within 10-20. But Monroe capitalized on Arlingtons inability to pass consistently and won easily 25-13.
It has been a tough season for the Eagles as they work to build up a dormant program.
The losing is weighing on some of the players, said Coach Britt. Theyre hanging their heads, which is something we just cant do. The girls need to develop a sharp mental toughness for every game.
Some credit must be given to Monroe, who outsized the Eagles at nearly every spot, but Britt doesnt believe the problem is the opponents the Eagles face.
Monroe is a good team, no question, said Britt, but they are certainly beatable. We have a tough schedule all around, playing against mostly 4A teams. But that doesnt mean we cannot compete and win against these teams. Were improving every day, thats the main thing. I would feel bad if I didnt see progress, but the girls get better every day. We just need to be mentally tougher.
The Eagles play again Oct. 25 against Cascade.

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