CLEARMONT — Arvada-Clearmont High School volleyball went four sets against the Upton Bobcats on Saturday, winning only the first set, 25-15, 25-15, 25-23, 25-18.
The loss comes after the team’s first conference win of the season on Friday against Midwest.
Head coach Sarah Walker said the team has been making changes in player positions and defensive style and was slow to come together Saturday.
“It just took us while. We didn’t really wake up ready to play volleyball until about that third set and sometimes too little too late,” Walker said.
The slow start may have come in part from changes to the team’s play style and player positions.
“This is really like our first test with a new style of defense and just some girls playing in different positions than they’ve played before,” Walker said. “So we definitely took some steps forward in different areas. We took some steps backwards in other areas compared to (Friday).”
Among the changes is Senior Ashlynn Fennema’s move to middle from setter this season.
“She’s one of my kids that I’ve asked a lot of this year to move to a new spot, learn something different, do something different and has stepped up and been able to do it these first couple weeks,” Walker said.
Fennema said as the tallest player on the team, she had always wanted to block, but couldn’t as setter.
“So (at) middle my main thing is blocking.”
Fennema said the team needs to work on protecting the court on defense but is well situated on offense.
“This year we have girls that can hit and we have every option that the setters can go to so they’re not limited and I think it’s really good.”
Walker believes the team needs to work to develop consistency above all.
“Volleyball’s kind of a repetition sport and you have to be able to scrap and throw up an arm here and there but it’s also just about repetition and muscle memory and doing the correct footwork over and over and over again,” Walker said. “So for us it’s just getting those reps in practice and really working on our consistency so we can gain more confidence as the season goes on.”
Madison Troll said the team is still getting used to playing together.
“It was kind of up and down,” she said. “Last weekend we had a tournament so it was kind of relaxed and we kind of got to settle down and play a little better, but I think we let the pressure get to us today.”
Troll echoed her coach’s call for greater consistency as a team.
“Communication was not necessarily one of our weaknesses but I think that after a team goes on a run against us we definitely don’t know how to gain back the momentum,” she said. “I think that if we just focus on playing together and being more intense and wanting it more I think that we’ll succeed a lot more.”
The Lady Panthers will compete at the Big Horn Invitational on Friday and Saturday.