Though the William Chrisman volleyball team has hit a six-match losing skid, the latest one coming Tuesday on Senior Night against Liberty North, Bears senior libero Liz Snow believes the program is in a better place moving forward as the first year of coach Dean Rausch’s tenure winds down.
The visiting Eagles broke away past the midway point in both sets for a 25-16, 25-17 nonconference victory, dropping the Bears to 11-17-1. But Rausch said his team certainly hasn’t backed down this season.
“They don’t quit. They’ve really, really improved this year, and I have a special set of seniors,” he said, adding that his one regret is only having one season to coach Snow and fellow seniors Tiffini Jones, Chrissy HoChee and Chrisha Riley-Anderson.
“I think we listened to him a lot more,” Snow said, “and the way we interacted with him was a more helpful, and with each other, especially.”
Despite five long serves, the Bears were within 15-14 in the first set when Chrissy HoChee tipped her third kill of the game. But a block and kill by Haley Mead helped jump-start Liberty North’s 10-2 finishing push, and the Bears had three attack errors and two more long serves.
“In that first set, we kept shooting ourselves in the foot with service errors,” Rausch said. “They’re such a momentum-killer.
“The second set was about serve reception. We weren’t putting the ball where we needed to put it, and (the Eagles) put it away.”
Chrisman lost a 7-2 lead in the second set, then recovered to go up 14-10 aided by kills from HoChee, Jones and Jordyn Atagi.
That’s when North’s Jessica Fennix slammed a pair of kills and added a block to start her team’s finishing 15-3 run. The Eagles improved to 14-10-3 with the victory.
Rachel Losch and HoChee had four kills each and Losch added four blocks for the Bears. Snow added six digs, and Atagi and Makenzie Erikson combined for 13 assists.
“I thought (Losch) hit the ball well again, and the setting was pretty good. It’s just a matter of passing and consistently getting her the ball in position where she can do something," Rausch said. "The system’s there; we just needed to be able to finish some things.”
Likewise, Snow said the volleyball program should only improve next season with Rausch’s system in place.
“He’s great at motivating the players,” she said.
Liberty North’s junior varsity claimed a 25-16, 20-25, 25-13 win.