The Rolla volleyball team (12-10-1, 3-5 OC) hosted Lebanon for an Ozark Conference matchup and their Paint It Pink Night on Thursday, Sept. 28.
The Lady Bulldogs raised $1,900 for cancer research from sales of shirts that were designed by senior Brooke Gillman. Rolla couldn't translate those good vibes into wins, as they lost the match in straight sets 22-25, 24-26.
Rolla was on the verge of having a solid match all night long, but they needed to tighten the screws a bit. The Lady Bulldogs struggled to pass and step up to back up their blockers. Rolla started the first set with great hitting from Shelby Ply and Megan Brown, but as the other mistakes started to pile up, the hitting fell with them. Despite the mistakes, Rolla stayed in the game in both sets. The Lady Bulldogs trailed for most of the set, but came back to tie the match at 20. After Rolla tied the match, Lebanon took the next two points and maintained that lead on the way to a 22-25 win in the set.
The second set looked a lot like the first. Rolla stayed in the set the entire time, but a series of mistakes kept them from getting into any sort of rhythm. Lebanon was able to take a 7-10 on some fantastic rallies led by their libero Jodie Fox. Rolla charged back to tie the game at 15 after a time out. Lebanon took a two point lead after that and the two teams traded points for the remainder of the match. Rolla was able to tie the game at 24, but they couldn't take a late lead. Lebanon scored the next two points to win the match 24-26.
Ply led the team in kills with eight, Rebecca Janke added six, while Brown chipped in five. Rolla's hitting issues came from a total of nine errors. They also had eight service errors in the loss.
"We lost because we made too many mistakes," said head coach Stephanie Pritchett. "We hit the ball out a ton, we missed our serves, our passing wasn't terrible all the time, but we made big passing errors. We let them ace us. You just can't do that, you have to get the ball back to the other side of the court and we couldn't.
"We didn't make them make any errors," continued the Rolla head coach. "We made our own errors."
This Rolla team is close, but they need to tighten things up mentally. Coach Pritchett will be focused on helping this team mentally as they go down the home stretch.
"I told them, and they understand, that what they did today was give a game away, just handed it to them, with mental errors," said coach Pritchett. "We're gonna work on some of that tomorrow in practice...we have to just go back and act like we can win and they have a hard time with that sometimes, they act like they're not supposed to win. That plays into what they're doing.
"What I told them is every game we have right now is practice to the District Championship," continued Pritchett. "Every game we're practicing getting those great passes up there, making tough serves and things like that. It's a mindset. They're not in it yet, they've gotta get in it."
The Lady Bulldogs will look to get into the right mindset when they play in the Licking Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 30.