Volleyball team loses to Harper, can still win N4C crown
October 4, 2016
The Madison College volleyball team took a difficult loss at the hands of the Harper College Hawks at home on Sept. 23, losing a closely fought battle in five sets.
The stands were packed with fans the entire way as the WolfPack hosted a battle between the top two ranked teams in the nation.
The WolfPack have excelled in high pressure games under Coach Toby Parker, particularly in recent years. Still, the Wolfpack struggled to overcome early jitters as Harper College came out with energy and confidence.
From the opening serve it was clear that Harper College was prepared for a prime time showdown. The WolfPack seemed discombobulated and struggled to find the accuracy they have displayed all season. Error after error and a multitude of self-inflicted wounds plagued them throughout the contest, with Harper winning two of the first three games.
“We gave Harper 49 of their 144 points,” said Parker. “We learned plenty about ourselves. Along with the stretches of uncharacteristically poor play came a ton of positives as well.”
The WolfPack lack the size they have had in years past but make up for it with speed, precision and an airtight defensive rotation. However, the Hawks were able to spike the ball into the smallest of gaps in the WolfPack defense.
Still, the Madison College rallied in the third set after being down nine points. Although the Hawks held on to win that set 25-22, the WolfPack seemed to have found their groove.
The momentum carried into the fourth set with the WolfPack showing the dazzling athleticism and precision that have fans have become familiar with.
But just as it seemed the WolfPack had enough momentum to finally put the Hawks away, things unraveled in the fifth set. Unforced errors helped Harper go on a big run, taking an 8-3 lead.
The WolfPack showed grit and intensity making one brief final run. Ever patient on the sidelines, Parker waited and waited for his team to turn things around but they were never able to get any closer.
Though he loathes playing the what if game, Parker couldn’t help but wonder how different things would have been if some of the balls had landed in and some of the calls had gone the other way.
“No one dislikes the woulda’, coulda’, shoulda’ element in sports more than me,” Parker said. “The team’s reaction to the loss was as expected. There is high volleyball I.Q. with this group. They absolutely understand the difference between losing to a team and getting beat by a team. Thursday night, we lost. The resilience and desire to improve has been evident in our practices since.”
Parker added that there is still a lot of volleyball left to play and seems confident that Thursday’s rough outing will be the exception rather than the rule.
The WolfPack won’t have to wait long to avenge this loss. They travel to Harper College on Oct. 20 in a match that could determine the North Central Community College Conference title.