"You're biggest competitor is the one between your ears."
We had a lot of time to think about into our first tournament in Orange City, Iowa; opening up against Hastings College and nationally ranked Northwestern College. Unfortunately, we fell to both teams, but I definitely wouldn't say that all was lost. For most of the new girls on the team, this was their first collegiate matches for volleyball or any other sport for that matter. So you can see where the jitters might come into play. This was much needed I thought to allow our girls to get the feel of playing in front of a bigger crowd against a much bigger and faster team. However, we couldn't pull out of the slump we let our nerves dig us into. We were fighting hard, letting the little mistakes consume us mentally.
The next day, Saturday, we felt another hard loss to Morningside College after taking a set off of Doane College (also nationally ranked). Though it was a winless weekend, the team was ready to get back into the gym and use the next ten days to prep for our next game.
September 4th arrived and we were up against the University of Jamestown. Sitting in a more snug gym than what we are used to, with a crowd bigger (and louder) than what we were used to, we came out really flat. Our warm-ups looked extremely boring and uncoordinated which leaked into our match. In the first set, we couldn't seem to get any fluidity going; we couldn't pass, our hitters were nowhere to be found, etc. As that set ended (5-25!), there was a sense of "THANK GOODNESS IT'S OVER" on some faces. The inexperience of our team as a whole is starting to take a toll on us. There are moments when we can actually see the potential in ourselves, but then there are plays where we look at each other in just total confusion.
On Friday, we fell against two of the lower level teams that we had faced all season in Mt. Marty College and Presentation College. I could say that we definitely underestimated them. Personally, I thought that we could have beaten both teams, but a lack of confidence, faith, and just plain old fun hurt us more than ever. This left us completely heart-broken and even more confused as to what it is we need to do to see ourselves succeed. I wouldn't say that we aren't seeing improvement in individual players, but it is these little improvements that we need to turn into one big one so that there is cohesion amongst the team. We hope to continue to have faith and turn that faith into action remembering our fundamentals. We hope to prove to our community and especially ourselves this Tuesday against the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.