The Sussex Academy girls’ volleyball team was hoping to continue its winning ways against local rival Sussex Central Sept. 12. The visiting Golden Knights had other plans.
The first set was indicative of how the match would play out for the most part – multiple lead changes, extended volleys and close throughout. Sussex Central squeaked by 26-24 for a 1-0 lead.
“I thought that we made a lot of unforced errors, which ultimately cost us the match. Central’s team is scrappy, and I felt they did a great job at picking up almost everything we sent over,” said Seahawks coach Hailee Gooch.
The Seahawks battled back in the second set to win 25-23 and tie the match. Jumping out to an early lead the next set, it seemed Sussex Academy was poised to take a commanding 2-1 lead. The resilient Sussex Central persevered through the onslaught to take the lead and eventually the set.
“This game is about pressure – it is how you handle it and how we decide to handle it. It's showing up for practice, showing up for yourself or your team, and showing out during games. We have to learn how to execute,” Gooch said.
Leading 2-1, the Golden Knights showed bravado and increased their aggressiveness at the net. Sussex Central went up big in the fourth and final set, winning 25-14 to take the match 3-1.
Gooch said the team has a lot to learn and work on following the match, but she is confident her group will begin to mesh.
“It definitely showed us areas of room for improvement moving forward. One being serve receive, and probably the placement of the offense,” Gooch said.
The Seahawks have five seniors, three freshmen, two juniors and two sophomores on the team. Some of the younger players received significant playing time in the match.
“I saw the timidness on the court. We had one freshman, two sophomores and two juniors to go along with our seniors. I feel like the pressure got the best of them today,” Gooch said.
The Seahawks will host the Laurel Bulldogs at 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, before traveling to Smyrna for a match at 6:15 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15.