By Chuck Reherman
Yukon came in looking to open the season on an impressive note.
Then a storm rolled in. The Oklahoma City Storm that is.
The homeschool team overcame deficits in each set to take the match in three Tuesday night on the Millerettes’ home court.
The Storm came from 24-21 down to win the first set 26-24. The Storm came back from another three-point deficit to win 25-22 and then came from eight down to win the third 25-23 and earn the sweep.
Millerette head coach Rachel Allred knew her team would have a tough season opener with the Storm. The teams had faced each other last week in a scrimmage festival, where the teams got in nearly two full sets in the 40-minute time limit. Those scores were 25-23 and 17-16.
“We were neck and neck with them in both this match and the scrimmage,” Allred said. “We didn’t play bad. We are still working on certain people in certain spots and for six of our players, it was their first varsity match ever.
“It’s early in the season, we did get everyone on the court again to get a taste of varsity competition,” she added. “Overall, it was more of a learning experience and that is how I wanted it. That is what I scheduled it so early, this is the earliest we have played, it’s normally the first week of school before we played our first match.
“This gives us a full week after a came like scenario to work on before we start conference play. And, we are still missing a right-side hitter, so some things will change. We pointed out some misses and some strengths. We really want to focus on our ability to focus, maintain pressure on the ball and not just have spurts and waves off being off and on.”
Down two sets, the Millerettes came out focused and took an early lead. A Rachel Kittell kill sent Yukon to a 10-6 lead. An ace from Sidney Benge gave the Millerettes a 13-8 lead.
Benge came back with a kill to open a 20-13 lead and after a shot went out of bounds off a Storm blocker, the Millerettes had opened a 21-13 lead and was on their way of extending the match.
But, the like the first two sets, the Storm came back with seven straight points and closed the gap to 21-20. The Millerettes went up 23-20, but again the Storm made a run and took a 24-23 lead on a service ace.
On the next serve, the ball caromed off a Millerette defender for the game ending point.
“Finishing and communication when we are on defense and our serve/receive, we were quite on the defensive end and that causes some miscommunication,” Allred said. “We sent tons of free balls over which is unacceptable. They know I expect more than that we can’t win.
“If we are giving an easy ball every time, that is not our kind of volleyball,” she said. “When we put pressure on the ball, the couldn’t handle it. But our thing was getting a good pass or a good set to finish it off.”
The first set was just a back and forth affair. The Millerettes did lead 21-16, but saw the Storm come back and make it 21-21. The Millerettes went up 24-21, but the Storm reeled off five straight for the win.
The second match was similar to the first, going back and forth. The match was tied 19-19 and again at 22-22. The Storm scored the final three points to take the 25-22 win.
“They were like playing a club team,” she said. “They are a different range than us, but it gets us ready for conference play and that is a good team to show up against especially this early in the season.
“We have to be strong mentally and that comes in practice,” she added. “We have talked about putting more pressure on ourselves in practice, being more competitive. We should be dominating things in practice.”
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By Chuck Reherman