After five consecutive losses, the Thunderducks volleyball team bounced back with a win against Arlington Baptist University on Oct. 4. It was a fight that extended into the fourth set. Richland won 3-1.
“We did good today. We beat a quality team. We’ve been in the slumps but they [the team] learned how to start playing together in order to win,” said Zelda Smith, Richland volleyball coach.
“I think we actually played really well considering how games have been like within the past two weeks. We’ve been down on our luck, but like we really learned to play together so it felt really great,” Dextiny Patrick, sophomore said. She believes the win will boost the morale of the team.
The game played out like a good conversation. It went back and forth continuously. No one team was leading for too long. It engaged the audience and one could feel the tension in the gym with every play. Richland won the sets by a two-digit margin, which is the minimum amount necessary.
“I think they [Arlington Baptist] played good. They gave us a little challenge. They helped us work on certain things that we were weak on,” said Patrick.
Despite the fact that Richland had experienced several losses, they didn’t lose faith according to Patrick. They analyzed what they needed to improve on and brainstormed a way to implement it into their system. This game allowed them to use the strategies they had been working on and it was successful.
Smith said the Thunderducks will continue to use the strategy in their upcoming games. She believes the players need to learn how to stay calm and focus on their goal in the face of pressure.
“They need to just repeat what they’ve been doing. This team has [beaten] a lot of teams in our conference, so we know we played quality ball. It’s just that when we don’t play together, we won’t win,” Smith said.
According to both the coach and players, the team’s biggest breakthrough has been in the area of teamwork. It was their weakest point and working through that has enabled the team to progress even further because they inspired each other during the game. There were times where it seemed as though the T-Ducks were going to lose but the teammates encouraged each other and that gave them the drive they needed to win.