Mental mistakes hurt BHS on senior night
After two tough losses, Kelly Brown was proud of her players, but knew they had the ability to win both matches.
Missed serves, bad passing and other unforced errors doomed the Baldwin High School volleyball team Tuesday night. BHS lost both of its matches to Spring Hill and Gardner.
"The girls played hard tonight," Brown said. "Spring Hill has improved and has some hitters we weren't ready for. We played aggressive against Gardner, but we made a lot of mental errors."
It was the unforced mistakes that hurt the Bulldogs, especially against Gardner. They went back and forth with Gardner until the score was tied 17-17. After a few errors and Gardner points, Baldwin couldn't recover and lost 25-20.
In the second game, Baldwin took an early lead before once again matching Gardner point for point. Then the Bulldogs missed four consecutive serves, giving the Trailblazers momentum. Gardner won the game 25-16, ending Baldwin's night.
"Against Gardner, we made too many mental mistakes," Brown said. "We missed four serves in a row and gave them a great lead. That put their star hitter back on the front row and that's what hurt."
Senior Ashley Tucker agreed with her coach, saying the loss was because of too many mental errors.
"Yeah, I definitely think mental mistakes were a big part of our losses tonight," Tucker said. "We sort of beat ourselves. Serving was a big problem for us tonight and that's all mental."
Despite the loss, Tucker did say Baldwin played one of its best matches of the season Tuesday against the Trailblazers.
"I think we played maybe one of our best matches of the year against Gardner," Tucker said. "We played really well together that match. Everyone was really excited to play them, so talking wasn't a problem. It was a great match, but we should have won that one, too."
In the first match of the night, Baldwin took on Spring Hill. BHS fell behind early and never recovered in the first game, losing 25-14.
The Bulldogs played the second game much tighter, but again found themselves a couple of points shy of the win. The Broncos won 25-23.
"We just didn't wake up until the second game against Spring Hill," Brown said. "They are still not playing aggressive enough."
Tucker said the Bulldogs didn't communicate well on the court against the Broncos. That is one problem the team needs to address, she said.
"We played all right against Spring Hill, but we could have played better," Tucker said. "We should have beaten them. That match we had difficulties with talking, and when that happens, we usually don't play as well. It's one thing we're still working on being more consistent with."
Tuesday was the final regular season matches at home for four Bulldogs. Callie Craig, Alex Bergan, Tiffani Zabala and Tucker celebrated their senior night Tuesday.
"It wasn't a disappointing senior night at all," Tucker said. "I mean, we wish we could have won, but it was still a really fun night. It was probably one of the most fun nights we've had, because everyone was pumped up since it was senior night."
Brown said the night was great, except the fact that the Bulldogs lost both matches.
"It was a great senior night," Brown said. "We had a huge crowd. The gym was packed. Unfortunately, we couldn't bring any wins to Baldwin."
She also said the BHS gym didn't lend itself to a comfortable playing environment.
"We had some unfortunate playing circumstances, because the gym was hot," Brown said. "I don't think the girls were used to playing in that condition. We go into every gym that is air-conditioned and it was extremely hot in here. I even got comments from other teams about it."
The Bulldogs now have nine days until their next action. Until then, Brown wants to work on the mental side of the game.
"We are going to work on the mental aspect of the game," Brown said. "We need to work on not missing serves, especially after getting a block and a kill. Those are big momentum killers for us. These girls have to learn how to play smart volleyball."
BHS will next play Sept. 29 at the Wellsville Tournament. Brown believes the Bulldogs have a good chance at winning a couple of matches that day.
"We've been improving, but unfortunately, we keep playing tough teams," Brown said. "We haven't quite gotten a break. Hopefully at the Wellsville tournament, we will see some teams that are beatable."