GOOSE LAKE – It wasn’t exactly what Northeast head coach Jake Schaefer wanted to see from his team for their home opener on Thursday night in Goose Lake.
The Rebels volleyball team opened their official season and suffered a a 25-9, 25-13, 25-9 sweep at the hands of the Fulton Steamers.
“That team is not the team that I’ve seen,” Schaefer said. “We know how to play, it’s just playing. One of our biggest struggles is going out and trusting that the things we’ve worked on in practice is what works.”
The Rebels really struggled on serve receive and in the back row as a whole to get passes where they needed to be. That left the setter off the the net and the hits out of system, which resulted in a lot of swings landing out of bound or in the net.
“When our passes are on, we are on,” Schaefer said. “We talk about controlling the pace a lot and even if we can’t control the pace on serve receive we work on controlling the pace as far as putting the ball where we need when we aren’t in system.”
When the Rebels did get a nice pass, their attack looked good. The likes of Bree Manglesen,Valerie Spooner, Claire Abbott, Alexis Ehlers and Ellie Rickertsen all proved their capabilities with good swings and block touches at one point of another, it just wasn’t consistent.
The slow starts didn’t help. The Rebels fell behind 7-0 in the first set before getting a point, and fell behind 8-1 in the second set. Both they had to crawl their way back either by serves or by Fulton errors.
“[We need to be] more aggressive in practice,” Schaefer said. “And not necessarily them, but me. It’s me pushing them harder and really understanding how hard we need to work. If we can do that in practice the game becomes that much easier.
The Northeast Rebels play in a tournament this weekend, traveling to Maquoketa.
Meanwhile, the Steamers are rolling. This was their third game of the first week of the season and their third sweep in a row.
“I like how our setters and hitters are making a good combination,” head coach Stacy Germann said. “We’re getting those hits and blocks up. We were more inconsistent with that last year, and I’m seeing more consistency.”
The Steamers looked quick on defense, picking up most of Northeast’s off hits that were coming over the net and turning them into attacks of their own.
“Our last two games, we were a little slow on defense. We hesitated,” Germann said. “It was one of our goals to not hesitate and to talk. I felt like they did it a lot better tonight.”
The got a little more practice in running plays with all the free balls they saw on Thursday, too.
“We would like to incorporate some more plays on free balls,” Germann said. “I think they did that. We just want to be talking to our hitters and get smart at the net.”
Germann gives up home court in this situation in order to come over to Iowa and play a best of five situation (Illinois is best of three).
“I love it,” Germann said. “We give it up to get a chance at three out of five.”
The Steamers are back in action on Tuesday, traveling to River Ridge.
Unity falls to Galesburg
GALESBURG – After winning the first two sets, Unity fell in five to Galesburg Christian on the road on Thursday night, 19-25, 17-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-6.
“We come out playing really well,” head coach Jana Behr said. “We need to finish. It will come. We are learning and we are still young and gelling.”
Both Michelle Striley and Carrie Willoughby finished with six kills on the night. Striley also and seven aces, as did teammate Kyra Wicklund. Wicklund also led the team with 14 digs.
Unity is back in action on Tuesday after the holiday weekend, welcoming Faith Christian to their home court.