After starting out strong in the first set, the Lady Dons eventually lost to the Carlmont Scots on Oct. 1 after four sets 21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-19.
“We beat them the first set, but then we proceeded to make a lot of unforced errors,” says junior Melanie Moore. “It wasn’t our best game.”
Overall, the Lady Dons struggled to click as a team, ultimately allowing Carlmont’s strong play to outweigh their slip-ups.
Towards the end of the game, Moore was able to block a return from Carlmont’s outside hitter. Freshman Kylie Larcher recorded another block for the home team near the end of the game.
Despite the loss, the Lady Dons still look forward to a better overall season after moving back up from Ocean division to Bay division where they are currently 9-9. For one, this year’s team is comprised of stronger defensive players than previous years, which is both a benefit to one end of the game and a trade-off to the other.
“Last year, if our passing wasn’t great, we’d still win,” says Lee.
Moore agrees, adding, “There wasn’t a lot of competition, and we never had to play at our best. The competition [this year] has allowed us to improve.”
This year, nearly half of the team are first-time varsity players. Because of their young team, they team is placing a stronger emphasis on learning and adapting their strategy to their opponents’ team dynamics.
“Our practices are very focused on honing our fundamentals and trying to perfect our techniques in game situation where we adjust our skillset to our opponents accordingly,” says Moore.
In addition to stressing teamwork, the team also continues to improve the execution and consistency of their passing, hitting, and blocking.
While the team may not have many huge hitters or many physically big players this year, their improved defense allows for a more well-rounded team.
Although the team recognizes the void left by last year’s seniors, the team maintains that they are just as hardworking and competitive. The returning players have taken note of how the rising athletes have appropriately stepped up to take the vacant spots.
“I feel that Melanie Moore is dependable like [alumna] Miranda Taylor in that you can count on both of them to go for a kill rather than keep the ball in the court,” says Lee.
Earlier in the season, the Lady Dons began the young season with matchups against two of the toughest competitors in their league — the Menlo Atherton Bears and the Carlmont Scots.
Despite dropping both contests, the team remains optimistic and hopeful of what they can achieve by the end of the season. Altogether, the team remains confident that they can compete in the upper division and possibly make an impression in the postseason.