Teamwork makes the dream work as the saying goes.
If so and Saturday night was any indication, the Colgan Sharks could be on the verge of fulfilling their volleyball dreams of winning a Class 6 state title.
Colgan beat Franklin County 3-0 on Saturday night to reach the state semifinals on Tuesday. The Sharks will host Freedom-South Riding in a rematch of the Group 6B regional final, which Colgan also hosted and won last Tuesday.
Teamwork played a huge role in Colgan’s success against Franklin County as there were several long exchanges, especially during the first set, which required Colgan to use his strong communication skills and sense. of the team unity that was apparent throughout Saturday’s game.
Unlike Tuesday’s regional final, after which Colgan coach Keith Mesa lamented the team’s poor assists and service, Saturday’s game seemed to be quite the opposite. Regardless of who made up the front line at any given time, the play of every outside hitter and center tackle was pretty stellar on Saturday.
The final sets scores were 25-13, 25-16 and 25-10. In the third set, the Sharks took a 22-6 lead with three kills each by Makayla Bowman and Brielle Kemavor. Those games were certainly important in ensuring Colgan qualifies for Tuesday’s semifinals because they had the Eagles on their heels most of the night.
However, Mesa still found several things that he said “need to be fixed” before the Sharks play Freedom South Riding for a place in the state final on Tuesday. But those things weren’t problems on Saturday night.
“We had in their heads [by winning the first set], so there wasn’t a lot of pressure, ”Mesa said. “The girls felt more comfortable being aggressive and taking more risks than [during Tuesday’s] meet. Tuesday will probably be a different game than Tuesday and we’ll see how [the girls] play when they get into difficult places and get into the moment. “
Despite some necessary adjustments, Mesa was quick to add, “We are proud of our children and the situation they have put themselves in.”
One thing that worried Mesa after Tuesday’s game was Colgan’s serve errors. In Saturday’s game there were a lot less and that’s one of the reasons the Sharks took a big lead in every set.
In the first set, Bowman closed the set with five straight good serves that helped the Sharks win, 25-13. Set two was tighter throughout, but strong serves from senior Joey Him helped the Sharks put the finishing touches to a 25-16 win. Meanwhile, in Set 3, senior Alana Connor served on four of Colgan’s first seven points as Colgan took a 7-1 lead.
Later in the final set, Bowman and Kemavor each had three kills in a short streak, helping Colgan take a 16-4 lead en route to victory.
Kemavor said the first-row team’s play was much better on Saturday than in the Sharks’ previous game.
“I think our skittles really got out in front of the blocks tonight and that makes it easier for the intermediaries because we can just go up [over the net] and remains strong, ”Kemavor said. “We were also able to connect very well with the passer on many points. Our passer was going out of his way and our pins were up for anything, so we really did it tonight. “
Kemavor said she believed that because there were a lot of furious rallies, what she called “scrambling bullets,” the team’s ability to communicate, which has been a strength all season, was an important factor.
“We didn’t get emotional. We didn’t get into our heads, ”Kemavor said. “We saw the prize tonight and we were very determined to go get it.”
Another factor that has been important all season and should be just as important over the next two [possible] matches, is the senior leadership provided by Bowman, Meghan Haldeman, Joey Him and Connor.
“We [the underclassmen] love our elders so much. They are honestly like moms to us on the pitch, ”Kemavor said. “There’s always one behind us, making noise, and when we don’t really know what to do, they know exactly what’s going on all the time, 24/7. I really feel like these old people will be missed for sure. “
Thankfully, thanks to the play of seniors and subclasses like Kemavor, sophomore Aubrey Hatch and junior Alexis Scipione among others, the seniors will have at least one more game and the close bond will bind them again.