The Hillsboro volleyball team placed sixth Saturday at the Southeast of Saline Invitational with a 2-3 record.
In pool play, the Trojans opened with a win over Smoky Valley, 29-27, 25-15, then dropped the next two matches, 25-23, 25-23 to the home team and 25-15, 25-16 to Concordia, the eventual tournament champion.
Coach Sandy Arnold said the outcomes of those matches had a lot to do with the mistakes her team made or avoided.
“That’s been an issue for us, making mistakes—more than the other team,” Arnold said.
She felt Southeast was a beatable foe: “We should have won that one. We had them on the ropes both times, but made some critical errors at the wrong time.
“We need to develop mental toughness, particularly at crucial points in the game. We did some good things all day, and then we didn’t do some good things.”
In the first round of bracket play, the Trojans defeated Salina South, 25-16, 25-17, then lost the fifth-place match to Beloit, 17-25, 17-25.
“That was another one I wish we would have gotten,” Arnold said about Beloit. “I felt like we were maybe tired and a lot more unfocused. We had a big lead on them, and then we blew it. I don’t know if we got comfortable, or thought we had it.”
Arnold said her team needs to focus on the details of their play.
“We need to be able to do things—like hitting spots better. If we don’t get the pass, or the set’s not there, we still need to be able to make an adjustment to put the ball where we want it.
“That’s something we just need time to work on.”
On the positive side, Arnold said, “I thought our coverage was better and we’re starting to play defense in a lower position, which helps us be ready for the quick balls that come back. We also hustled a bit more after some balls, but we’re still not there yet.”
At Larned—The Trojans made the long trip west Sept. 5 for a double dual with the host team and Pratt.
Hillsboro lost to Larned, (3-5), 25-17, 25-19, then turned around and defeated Pratt (9-3) 22-25, 25-18, 25-19.
“We played our worst match of the year against Larned, then turned around and played our best match of the year against Pratt,” Arnold said.“The girls did a great job in the match of mixing up their attack. We had Pratt scrambling, I felt. They weren’t sure exactly where to cover.”
Coming—Hillsboro was scheduled to bring its 5-8 record to the team’s home debut Sept 12 for a double dual against Halstead and Life Prep Academy.
The Trojans will return to action Sept. 19 at Nickerson against the Panthers and Douglass in a triangular setting.