CLINTON — One of the worries for a coach of a young team is how the players will handle things when the momentum shifts in the opponent’s favor.
The answer wasn’t unexpected Tuesday night at Central Catholic Auditorium.
Riding the wave of an early 11-1 run, Prince of Peace rolled to an opening 25-15 victory against visiting Cedar Valley Christian in Tri-Rivers Conference volleyball. But, once the Huskies won a close contest in Set 2, the Irish struggled to regain their early edge. The result was a 15-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-17 win for CVC.
“With a young team, sometimes it becomes more of a mental breakdown,” Prince of Peace coach Lisa Gogel said of her squad that has one senior and one junior in its rotation that also includes three sophomores and two freshmen. “We lost confidence. We got unsure of ourselves.”
Cedar Valley Christian, meanwhile, starts two seniors and four juniors. Even though he relied a bit more on a pair of freshmen because two starters were ill, CVC coach Jeff Pospisil saw his experience pay off.
“The others stepped up and made plays,” he said.
The Huskies (9-7) also made key adjustments after the Irish dominated Game 1.
The Irish (1-8) got on a roll, starting with a pair of kills by sophomore Sydney Laufenberg on each side of one by freshman Miranda Schnier, giving them a 5-2 lead. They took advantage of hitting errors by CVC on four of the next five points to go up 10-2, then added three more points after the Huskies ended the 8-0 run.
“In the first game, I really liked what I heard,” Gogel said. “They were talking. They moved well. They were trusting each other a lot more.”
A pair of multi-point runs helped CVC cut the gap to 17-11, but Shannon Kuehl served six consecutive points, one an ace, to put the Irish on the brink of the win. They finished it with an Erin Kuehn kill and an ace by Hunter Chapman.