SHERIDAN — The Sheridan College volleyball team went 1-3 over the weekend at the Casper Invite, yet head coach Casey Quiggle and the Lady Generals are focusing on what happened on the court rather than the final outcome.
The Lady Generals defeated Miles Community College in five games, 25-17, 25-15, 21-25, 19-15 and 15-7, in the first match of the invite. This was the one match-up Quiggle believed the Lady Generals had an advantage. Taking care of business against a team the Lady Generals should beat was a goal for Quiggle entering the tournament.
Normally playing a full five sets after winning the first two would be frustrating for a coach. With this being a game early in the season, Quiggle saw how the Lady Generals handled adversity and a tough contest.
Quiggle said in the end the best team won and he was proud of the way his team finished the game.
The rest of the Invite pitted the Lady Generals against tough teams. The Lady Generals lost to Colby Community College in four games, 21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-15. Sheridan College was swept in games Saturday against Salt Lake Community College 25-18, 25-21, 26-24, and Northeastern Junior College 27-25, 25-22, 25-22.
Quiggle said he wanted to sneak in at least one win against a quality opponent but was satisfied with the effort and performance of the team. Even though the Lady Generals lost, the team realized they can play with good teams, giving the Lady Generals confidence.
Quiggle wants to see that confidence displayed by the Lady Generals earlier in the game. Jody Gallagher said the team experienced slow starts in their games, something the team needs to improve. The Lady Generals are still trying to find consistency in energy and confidence of the team.
The Lady Generals need to enter the game with confidence about competing with a good opponent instead of waiting until midway through the match to turn on the intensity, Quiggle said.
These were the first four matches of the season for the Lady Generals and in the grand scheme of qualifying for the region tournament, they mean very little to the team. The Lady Generals are looking to continually improve as the season goes on, playing their best against conference opponents.
“We do not want to peak right now,” Gallagher said. “We want to peak when it matters, toward the middle of the season, toward the end. It is definitely important to realize that we have a lot of growth ahead of us.”
An area for improvement is receiving serves, Darci Kaiser said. The Lady Generals had difficulties handling opponents’ serves, preventing Sheridan College from setting up the offense.
Being a good sideout team allows the Lady Generals to regain possession of the ball and be more efficient on offense, Quiggle said. Both areas give the team the ability to control the game.
Quiggle found the group of players he likes to have on the court together and developed a substitution rotation. Quiggle said he found a mixture of freshmen and sophomores give him the best recipe for success. Some freshmen have stepped up and played well for the Lady Generals, Quiggle said. The sophomores on the court provide leadership and experience the freshmen are still trying to develop.
As different groups enter the court, chemistry needs to improve. The need for improved chemistry does not come from issues between players, though. Cayl Bowman said the team gets along great, having excellent chemistry off the court.
Quiggle said this is the first time many of these girls are playing with each other and it will take time to build the chemistry. Improved chemistry will help with the timing between hitters and setters, allowing for cleaner kills. The chemistry will also help improve the defensive rotation when defending an attack by an opponent.
The Lady Generals started school Monday, adding academics to daily duties. Bowman, Gallagher and Kaiser said Quiggle challenged the team during fall camp, making sure they were used to long days and working while tired.
Quiggle said you can not replicate the stress of college classes, but during fall camp Quiggle replicated the busyness of a day during the semester.
Bowman said with the practices dropping from two or three to once a day, volleyball practice will be a time for the Lady Generals to focus on volleyball and relieve stress from school.
The Lady Generals learned a lot this weekend, knowing they have the ability to improve next weekend.
“This past weekend started a fire under everyone because they saw what it is like to lose,” Bowman said. “Losing sucks; no one likes to lose. This week we can look forward to everyone working harder in practice and taking care of their bodies because they want to play this weekend and they want to win.”
The Lady Generals are battling small bumps and bruises, Quiggle said. He will try to prevent any injuries from becoming more serious and costing someone playing time because they are pushing the injury too hard. Quiggle wants to make sure his team is at full strength when conference play starts.
The Lady Generals travel to another two-day, four-match invite in La Junta, Colorado, at Otero Junior College Friday and Saturday.