Silverthorne Arena didn’t feel like home for the Stephens College volleyball team Monday night. A small, but vocal group of students from visiting Central Christian College made sure their school was the one that felt at home.
The Heralds beat the Stars 30-18, 30-24, 30-25.
“They definitely have some strong, supportive fans,” coach Dane Pavlovich said. “It’s going to make things difficult when we go to their place.”
Stephens jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first game, but Central stayed with them, eventually taking the lead at 6-5. Central went on an 11-4 run from there to take control and coast through the first game.
“We had trouble recognizing some of the things they were doing,” Pavlovich said. “We were so focused on covering the attacks that we would miss the easy one just over the net.”
The Stars (4-6) looked tired and sluggish at times as Central dumped several tips in the middle of the court.
“It’s very frustrating to see balls drop,” senior Freda West said.
West said physical fatigue played a part in Stephens’ inability to reach some of the tips.
The Stars are coming off a weekend in which they played four matches in three days.
The team plays again tonight at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
“It’s mental fatigue even more than physical fatigue,” West said. “If we make a mistake it pulls us out of the game fast.”
Stephens regrouped after the first game against Central (7-1) and played tough the rest of the match, but couldn’t come back.
The Stars pulled within 22-20 in the second game but a 4-0 Central run halted their momentum.
In the third game, Stephens fought back to 28-25 after being down 25-16. A missed block by the Stars gave Central match point, though, and the match was over after the ensuing serve.
“We have a tough time getting started quickly,” Pavlovich said. “We have to get a better start. We start slow and are playing catch-up from the beginning.”
Despite the team’s sluggish play, Pavlovich was able to take some positives away from the match.
He said West and freshman Moniece Brown were dominant at times in the front row. West led the Stars with 11 kills and nine blocks.
Pavlovich said he was also happy with the play of junior Megan Gigax and freshman Wendy Parsell.
“They’re not going to get a lot of numbers on the stat line, but they’re integral to what we do,” Pavlovich said.
West said she was happy with the aggressiveness she saw in her teammates.
“We can’t maintain it, but every so often we get aggressive and are able to set-up our offense,” she said.
Pavlovich said the players need to continue to work on passing and moving their feet.