Saturday, February 24, 2018

Middle hitter Mariah Simmons, front, and defensive specialist Jade Cruse receive high fives on the way to the locker room after Hardin defeats Sidney in three sets at home.Mariah Simmons winds up for a spike against the Sidney Eagles during their Friday evening home game.

Final stretch

Lady Bulldog volleyball team takes out Sidney and Laurel, prepares for divisionals
Hardin’s Lady Bulldog volleyball team finished their regular season last week with a final two victories in an away game against the Laurel Locomotives last Thursday and a Friday home game against the Sidney Eagles. Moving into divisionals on Thursday, Nov. 2, Head Coach Tiffany Moullet is feeling confident.
“It was a good way to end our regular season conference games, with two back-to-back wins,” she said.
Now, according to outside hitter Nicole Green, the team is gearing up to go full force in their upcoming matches – a slow start cost them the first set against Laurel, drawing the game from three to four sets. Their first match with Sidney also started slower, but it didn’t stop the Ladies from taking down the Eagles in what Moullet considered to be a “smooth” three sets.
If their first shot doesn’t work, Moullet explained, she doesn’t want the team to “crumble,” but rather “stick with it.”
“We’re working on a lot of serve-receive and serving,” Green said. “We’re getting the energy up so we start off strong and finish strong.”
The Ladies have developed a stronger defense throughout the season, defensive specialist Jade Cruse said, adding that she personally has improved through learning how to communicate with the team. A team that’s more familiar with one another, she added, works better together.
“We’ve connected a lot as a team and it’s been a really fun season,” Green said. Both she and Cruse are first-time varsity players, Green continued, and they learned new skills through watching both their team and other players.
In her fifth season, Moullet said, she continues to learn to “the specific and unique needs” of her players to maximize their effectiveness on the court.
“In that way, it’s challenged me to sit down and think about every single [player] – from our varsity team to our freshman team,” she said. “They’re a very close-knit group and it’s been fun to be a part of that.
“I wouldn’t call myself a momma bear at all, but I get to at least be a part of it.”
The team will be facing the Livingston Rangers to start off divisional play – they were brought down in four sets during an Oct. 6 game with an estimated 30 unforced errors. The Ladies intend to shut down the Rangers’ outside hitter this time around and avoid a repeat of their previous performance.