Four Winds-Minnewauken volleyball continues search for identity after loss to Drake-Anamoose
After their game against Drake-Anamoose, the Indians went straight to the locker room like any other game.
Five minutes later Drake-Anamoose players began to file out of its locker room, which was down the same hallway. Another five minutes later the Lady Raiders had cleared out their entire locker room.
Another five minutes later, janitorial staff had entered the gym and started cleaning up, while Drake-Anamoose's athletic director was clearing straggling fans from the gym. As the school began to close, Four Winds was unfazed by what was going on outside their locker room door.
Finally, a good 20 minutes after the team made a hard left turn down the hallway and into their locker room, a faint cheer erupted from the locker room and the door opened.
The Four Winds/Minnewauken volleyball team (0-2, 0-1 Region 4) is trying to find its identity two games in, playing with a younger core and in a program that is only six years old. It's been a frustrating start for the Indians, and a 3-0 loss (11-25, 11-25, 15-25) to Drake-Anamoose (3-1, 0-1 Region 6) on Monday stands as another learning opportunity for the Indians.
"A lot of it right now with us, when we struggle versus when we don't struggle, is our energy levels," head coach Megan Callahan said. "We talked a lot about our energy, carrying that through their runs and how we have to push through that and get it back."
Finding that energy and motivation through three, four, or even five sets is something that goes beyond the court for the Indians, but into who each of them are, personally. Callahan said in having a younger core, she is still trying to get her players to come out of their shells to communicate and be louder on the court.
"We're still building on all of that volleyball knowledge and etiquette," Callahan said. "It can be tough to teach a bunch of quiet girls that it's ok for volleyball players to be loud and a bit obnoxious. Teaching them to do that and rally, even during those points we don't get, can be challenging."
Frustration was visible on the faces of players on the court and the bench. Whether it was a missed dig, a spike into the net, or a service error, it could be seen that energy levels were low.
However, while some shots didn't fall and offensive plays may have struggled to set up, the Indians did have a handful of silver linings in their front row. Junior middle hitter Ezura Rainbow led Four Winds with five kills, making it a challenge for the Lady Raiders to move the ball over the net.
"Ezura reads the ball really, really well, better than anybody I've coached in that middle position in quite a while," Callahan said. "She just has a knack for the ball. Her biggest thing is her body position, in making sure her hips stay out of the net, but once she gets going, she's going to be really, really good."
Another player that was pressing the Drake-Anamoose defense was junior outside hitter Myona Dauphinais, who picked up two kills and an ace in the finish. Throughout the match, she was the Indians' go-to weapon on the far left side.
"Myona has a really big swing and is really powerful," Callahan said. "We're trying to hone in some detail on her swing and try to move the ball. This is her third or fourth year starting varsity and she's played at least three different positions already. We just need to get her the right balls and having an approach with that big swing."
Four Winds offensive units needs some tweaking, but the potential is there. Back to back 25-11 set losses, saw the Indians receive a handful of points off of Lady Raider serving errors, but Four Winds did find some connection in the final set. Early in the third set, the Indians were tied with Drake-Anamoose until the seven-point mark, where the Lady Raiders began to pull away.
"Our passing got a lot better in that third set," Callahan said. "Rayann [Greene] was able to move the ball around a little more. We do have a few big swings up there, but we just couldn't get them going. It's just something we're looking to build off of."
As a young team, those handfuls of silver linings may not be as obvious to them as they are to Callahan. Coming off the court Monday, tired, frustrated, and in some cases, not really having fun, Callahan told her team to "fake it until you make it".
"It's just one of those things that come with being a young team and sometimes you struggle to control your body language," Callahan said. "We talked about faking it until you make it and it's important to help you have more fun and get through those tough moments."
In having such a broad term in the early season of "fake it until you make it" Callahan said it's in reference to a little bit of everything.
"We didn't have so much fun tonight, but overall I think we are," Callahan said. "This is only match two, we have a great group of girls and they really do enjoy being around each other. Overall, they do have fun and they do love the game of volleyball"
Four Winds-Minnewauken next five games
Sept. 15 - vs. Benson County - at Maddock
Sept. 17 - vs. North Star - at Minnewauken
Sept. 21 - vs. Rolette/Wolford - at Rolette
Sept. 22 - vs. Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page - at Four Winds
Sept. 24 - vs. Griggs-Midkota - at Binford