Volleyball Players Embrace Tough Schedule


Ella Bowman, Online Editor

Coach Crystal Barnes believes the varsity volleyball team has a good chance of winning conference this season. After some early losses, the team is enjoying a four-game win streak and currently has a 7-5 record. Barnes credits improved communication among players.

“Whenever teams talk a lot, they tend to play better because court awareness is present,” Barnes said. “Everyone knows what each other is doing, so decision making gets easier.”

More than half of the team’s five losses have been by only one set: the team lost 3-2 against Clayton, Holly Springs, and East Chapel Hill. The East Chapel Hill and Holly Springs losses came after tie-breakers sets.

“Mental toughness is needed in the game of volleyball,” Barnes said. “Every mistake results in a point so getting close, and making mistakes at critical moments can change flow easily. When there is a tie-breaker you are only going to 15 points, not 25, so there’s no room for error.”

Since the East Chapel Hill loss, the team has been on a tear, winning its last four games by substantial margins. They shut out Sanderson and Athens Drive, and they defeated Leesville Road and Rolesville 3-1.

Barnes says the team learned a lot from those early-season losses.

“Tough teams early in the season expose your weaknesses, which gives us time to polish up on those areas,” Barnes said. “Hopefully, those areas will be corrected before conference play, which could result in top rankings in the conference.”

So who does the team expect to be its toughest conference opponent? The Cougars’ cross-town rivals, the Huskies, are expected to bring intensity to the court.

“I guess it will still be Heritage,” Barnes said. “One reason they are so tough is because they have the student/fan support. The gym is always loud on their side, which can sometimes shift the momentum.”

As the Cougars look to expand their win streak, they’re also looking beyond the regular season. Taking the conference title is a real possibility this year.
“I believe we have a good chance of winning this season,” Barnes said. “We have been tied for 2nd and 3rd for the last couple seasons, it’s time to move up in the rankings.”