Volleyball: Monarchs searching for more consistency
Exeter notches .500 mark with 6-6 record through the first three weeks of the season
By Jermaine Johnson II @Jerm_10
EXETER – For the fourth year in a row, the Monarch volleyball team played their first tournament of the season at Clovis. Although they have moved up to Division I this season, their record has regressed a bit compared to this point in 2018.
Following the Clovis tournament, the team was 10-4 last year compared to 6-6 this year. They also performed better at the tournament last year, finishing with a record of 5-2. This year, they went 3-4. Nonetheless, Head coach Samantha Hilvers believes that the tournament is always a good test to see where the strengths and weaknesses are within the team.
“We have to work on our consistency,” said Hilvers. “At moments we played great volleyball and did well against some really good teams. But throughout the weekend, the consistency was not there.”
The team played several fellow Division I foes. Granada Hills Charter from the Los Angeles City Section was one of the better teams at the tournament. They went 4-2 and swept their opponents in every win except for one. Exeter’s lost to the Highlanders but stayed extremely competitive as they took them to three sets. Despite the four losses, the Monarchs showed a lot of promise, as they took three of their four losses to one set. In all of their wins, they swept their opponents. They closed the weekend out with a win over Sylmar. The only Division I team they played from central section was Clovis East. Exeter played them once during the seven-game tournament, and again in the very first game after the tournament. They boasted a combined 5-1 set record during those matchups.
After playing seven matchups in two days, Exeter had six days before their ensuing home game against Clovis East. Either fatigue or too many days without a game could have been a factor as the Monarchs came out very sluggish in that first set against the Timberwolves.
“There were a lot of errors in that first set,” said Hilvers. “They changed their lineup so it took us a while to adjust and for our offense to wake up.” They lost 25-18 before switching sides.
During the second set, Exeter cut down on the mistakes and the hitters finally “woke up” according to Hilvers. They earned 13 kills verses one error on the way to a dominant 25-10 win to tie the match at one set a piece. The Monarchs “went to sleep a bit” in the third set said Hilvers. They narrowly won by a score of 25-21. They were dominant again in the fourth set winning 25-13 and taking the match 3-1.
Going back to her earlier point about consistency, she believes her team has a hard time closing out teams at the end of games.
“We don’t do a good job once we get around 20 points,” she said. “We don’t accelerate through the finish. Then sometimes you have a team like Central that can on big runs and take the lead and then the game.”
Exeter lost to Central in the game preceding the tournament. That match went a full five sets, with two of their three losses being by two points. Coach Hilvers says her team is challenging her to come up with different drills and techniques to help with consistency.
The senior girls on the team have been carrying a heavy load. The seniors lead the team in every major category except blocks, which is led by juniors Sierrah Baker and Allison Paregien. The seniors leading the way statistically are Julia Nelsen, Meghan Tilschner, Mattie Fry, and Grace Germaine. Freshman Hannah Baker has also given the team very valuable minutes. She is third in both kills and assists.
The Monarchs will start league play on Thursday, Sept. 12 at Immanuel before heading to another tournament two days later. That tournament will be only one day and they will compete against four different teams.