Practice makes perfect, but sometimes there is not enough practice.
The Pagosa Springs High School varsity volleyball team came up short last Thursday in their game against Montezuma-Cortez, losing the match in three games: 12-25, 23-25 and 13-25.
“Standing on the sidelines, I kept thinking, I didn’t expect this,” said Coach Connie O’Donnell.
From practice to the game lay a dichotomy which showed itself in the 67 offensive and defensive errors the Pirates tallied.
“There were a ton of errors on things that we usually don’t make errors on,” O’Donnell said.
The Pirates committed the highest number of errors in attacks, 14, and digs, 19. The digs caused such a problem that it was rare for the hitters to get the ball in position for an attack, and when they did, O’Donnell said the hitters were often too timid to execute with force.
After the match, the team discussed problems, and O’Donnell said the girls were eager to address and work on the problems, one of which is translating their skills in practice to the game court.
Items worked on at practice Friday were the same as before, but with heightened intensity: serving, receiving, digging, setting, attacking and communication. Prior to last Saturday’s tournament, though, O’Donnell added more detailed hitting practice.
“We have some girls with verticals,” O’Donnell said, adding that the players are new to varsity this year and are still quite timid. In an effort to remedy this problem, O’Donnell has broken down the steps for the best hit, and the hitters will be drilling this.
Also, prior to tournament play in Monte Vista Saturday, O’Donnell rearranged the lineup to weed out the weakest rotations.
This time, the practice paid off.
“We looked a lot better,” O’Donnell said.
Pagosa won two out of three of their matches, and junior Anissa Lucero, O’Donnell said, dominated with her serve.
“We made so many points with just her serving,” O’Donnell said.
The first match was against Sargent, and the Pirates won in four sets: 25-11, 11-25, 25-22, 25-15.
The second game was against Center, and the Pirates also took that match in four sets: 25-19, 19-25, 25-16, 25-17.
It was the last game that Pagosa lost in four sets to Sangre de Cristo: 16-25, 19-25, 25-20, 24-26.
“Everybody did a lot better job with serves,” O’Donnell said.
However, there are still plenty of areas for the Pirates to drill during practice.
“There are a lot of bad habits that have been picked up,” O’Donnell said.
While the girls are showing initiative by communicating and calling their ball, they are failing to move their feet.
“They’re not moving to the ball. They’re not moving their feet,” O’Donnell said.
This Saturday, there will be a tournament at Fort Lewis where the Pirates will be matched against most of the teams from the Intermountain League. Until then, hustling, serving, hitting and digging will all be practiced, and hopefully the Pirates will take a step closer to perfection.