Pats take PAC thriller

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Junior Olivia Susnjara (1) and Heritage Hills came away with a 3-2 win Monday night at Forest Park. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

FERDINAND - Monday night saw Heritage Hills volleyball down, but never out.


The Patriots trailed Forest Park, 6-0, in the opening set of this Pocket Athletic Conference showdown - a set the Rangers would win, 25-16. Forest Park pulled ahead for a 2-1 win after three sets, and it looked like the Rangers were well on their way to 15 points in the decisive fifth set by jumping out to a 4-0 lead.

"A lot of it was just a head game," Pats coach Kayla White said. "The first four balls were all unforced errors - so that means it was just us."
Then the Pats rallied, and they burst out into screams of joy when freshman Savannah Gogel spiked the ball and it put it on the ground for the 15-12 win in the fifth set, and the 3-2 win in the match.

White noted some of her players have jobs in the huddle of being vocal, some leaders who have stepped up. Players like senior Claire Heeke, junior Lanae
Canen and sophomore Emma Haefling will be vocal when White steps out of the huddle - and she said it can help when it's not always just her talking.
The mental game showed on the other side, too, when it came to Forest Park. The Rangers were in the driver's seat in that fifth set, only for the match to slip through their hands.

"Sometimes, these girls look ahead of themselves too much," said junior varsity coach Kylie Anderson, who filled in for varsity coach Tara LaGrange on Monday. "They're looking at 15 before they're seeing what's in front of them.

"We've improved a lot in the last couple weeks, and one of the things is just setting small goals, and we did that in the games we were successful," Anderson continued. "But we lacked a lot in doing something different. We were doing a lot of the same things - we weren't tipping, we weren't hitting holes and we weren't reading their tips, either."

Senior Avari Burger (7) and Forest Park dropped a 3-2 loss to Heritage Hills on Monday. 

Anderson noted the players must be confident in not just themselves, but also in their teammates - and when they lose that confidence, they start to get down.

She said LaGrange is expected to be back on Thursday, and the Rangers are set to be back at home against another PAC foe in North Posey.

"I think that as long as the girls come back Thursday with a little bit of confidence, we're going to be just fine," she said.

Meanwhile, White noted that Heritage Hills never consistently has somebody on their game multiple games in a row, and so it varies as to who's hot and who's not. Not having players with a ton of varsity experience also factors into that.

The Pats are set to be right back at it Tuesday night at Northeast Dubois. The Jeeps fell, 3-2, to Paoli Monday night, as the regular season will be coming to a close soon.

"We want to control our four lines and what we can do," White said. "We don't want to play their speed, we don't want to play their game. What we can do is all we want."




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