The Beloit Turner volleyball team couldn’t quite slam the door Tuesday night against Monroe, and Trojans coach Kasey Quinn thinks he knows why.
Turner fell 26-24 in game one, then lost game two by a 25-23 margin. Their will broken, they dropped game three 25-12 in their first best-of-five match of the season.
Quinn said the team’s past had an influence on Tuesday’s outcome.
“Those first two games showed that we can play with anybody,” Quinn said. “But this program has struggled for a long time. This is my third year as coach, and we’ve been building every year. I don’t think they are used to being good at this yet, and that’s why I don’t think they’ve learned to finish yet.
“We get to that last point and we’re scared of blowing it. Obviously when you play like you’re scared of blowing it, that’s when you blow it.”
Quinn said several aspects of the Trojans’ squad have improved over the last few seasons.
“Our technique is better than it’s been, and the technical volleyball is better than it’s been,” Quinn said. “We’ve got players who can put the ball away when we need them to. Samantha Wells hits a big ball. Our two middles, A`Blessin Wilson and Olivia Tinder, are really solid. We’ve got a lot of solid players this season. Passing has been a distinct liability for us in past years, and we are vastly improved in that area this year.”
Quinn said the emotions of the first two losses took its toll on the team in game three.
“We’ve been playing some tournaments that were best-of-three games,” Quinn said. “So I tried to make sure they got water and got refreshed, because we had to gear up for five sets. But obviously we lost some energy and emotionally we just didn’t have much left after the first two games.”
The Trojans were led by Wells’ three kills, while Gabrielle Johnson had two aces, while Wilson came up with three blocks.
Quinn said the Rock Valley Conference looks to be fair evenly matched.
“I know there was a healthy amount of graduation among the top players in the league,” Quinn said. “And we didn’t lose a ton of seniors. Not having Madison Covey (spinal surgery) hurts, because we really miss her consistency. Our sophomore hitter Kirsten Steffen is still looking to be a little more steady, but she’s going to be a great player here for a long time.”
Senior setter Courtney Karich said the team learned a solid lesson Tuesday night.
“I just felt like our energy went way down in that third game, especially as they went on their big run,” Karich said. “They really kind of got in our heads in that last game. But those first two games were the best we’ve played in a long time, so we’re going to try and carry that into our next match.”
The Trojans will be back in action Thursday when they travel to Parkview.