Sutherlin d Siuslaw
25-27, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 15-13
Sept. 14, 2019 — The Viks volleyball team couldn’t hold off the Sutherlin Bulldogs last Thursday night, with the Viks loosing 3 out of five sets during their first home game of the season. But despite the loss, Viks coach Jonathan Hornung called the game the best match the team has played.
“We started really strong in the first set,” Hornung said. “We were just super amped up. It was the first home game during the school year, so you can tell the girls were really excited.”
The first set started with a lead, which dwindled as the team struggled from the service line.
“We did a really good job in that first set of drawing the middle blockers in. We kind of got away from that as the match went on. Desi Tupua got a lot of sets in game one and two. Then in game three, for whatever reason, our free-ball passing wasn’t as good — and we started relying more on the outside hitters.”
Once the Viks began making errors, the Bulldogs figured out Siuslaw’s strategy and began capitalizing on mistakes. The Viks edged out Sutherlin for a narrow 27-25 win in the first set, and took the lead during the second.
“But then we just hit a lull,” Horning said. In addition, Sutherlin had a long stretch of nine consecutive serves, eventually overcoming a 6-point deficit to even up the match on a 25-21 win.
“We stopped communicating but came out firing in the third set, which we took. But by the fourth set, we seemed doubtful of our abilities,” said Hornung. “We dug ourselves into an early hole like in set one.”
But unlike the first game, Siuslaw wasn’t able to dig itself back out. Though the Viks had chances to tie things up, missed serves at the end of the set put the Bulldogs back into a tie at 2-2 as the match headed into the fifth set — which was a tug-o-war with neither team serving more than two in a row.
“We played pretty well, but the mistakes we had earlier in the match kind of creeped back in,” Hornung said. “We missed three serves in the fifth set and had four or five hitting errors.”
While there were some technical errors that led to the loss, Hornung believes that much of it was psychological, particularly when the first home game of the season is factored in.
The home court can be a true advantage because “our student section is crazy loud,” he said. “Our community members come along with a ton of parents who show up. You want to show what we’ve been working on, and you want to show them this is how good we can be.”
But sometimes the spectacle of a home crowd distracts. And when you’re not focusing on the game, errors occur.
“We can dig ourselves out of holes most of the time, but Thursday for whatever reason, we just couldn’t,” said Hornung.
At that point, especially for a young team, Hornung said moments like that can steal confidence.
However, Hornung isn’t discouraged
““Sutherlin was the best team we’ve played, and this was the best we’ve played all year. The sky’s the limit on how high we want to go, and how much better we want to get, as long as these girls keep pushing and working. When we’re on, we’re unstoppable.”
Siuslaw will open the Sky-Em League season Sept. 19, at Cottage Grove, beginning at 6:30 p.m.