In addition to the number of superlatives being thrown around about the Jonathan Alder volleyball team, gritty should be added to the list.
That’s because why they haven’t found themselves in many challenging spots over the last couple seasons, the Lady Pioneers proved that they can dig deep and execute when they absolutely have to.
Alder rallied from a two game to none deficit to pull out a character-building 20-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-17, 15-6 victory at Marion Pleasant Tuesday evening.
First-year Pioneers coach TJ Read was happy to see his team fight back to get the win.
“You have to hand it to Coach (Randy) Haas and his players,” Read said. “They have some strong attackers, they passed and dug well, and their setter can move the ball around nicely. After the loss in the second game, as a team we took a step back and realized that playing the game our way was necessary in order to succeed.
“As you can see from the scores, even in the second set loss we began building momentum which remained consistent for the remainder of the match. The coaching staff was very pleased to watch the girls problem solve within each set and come together to finish out the match.”
Alder got a big performance from Alexa Hasting who collected 22 kills and 22 digs in the five-game affair. Ally Graves collected 14 kills, Corinne Parker had 12 of her own, while Kortney Reynolds picked up nine kills. Defensively Julie Jakse had 21 digs, Taylor Izzard came away with 17 and Sara Dickey finished up with nine.
Showing some fight and heart when times are tough should only help Alder going forward, especially because the schedule will continue to challenge Read’s team.
“The culture in our gym revolves around finding ways to make each other better while dissecting our opponent,” he said. “Their ability to adapt and problem solve in the match was fun to watch. There are some great conversations that occur in our huddles. It’s really something special. As a team we made some observations, developed a plan, and then executed efficiently.”
The coach said he sees improvement every time his players step on the court and that the momentum is starting to build.
“We are building momentum, I don’t think we have truly hit our stride yet though,” he said. “What we value most is that we are continuing to grow as a team and as a program every day we are in the gym. The upcoming match against St. Francis DeSales (Thursday, Sept. 8 at DeSales) is going to be a challenge and another test of our strength. Coach (Andy) Feltz runs a great program and we are excited to have the opportunity to compete against them.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.