|Click Photo to Enlarge
Mooseheart freshman Shannon Johnson passes the ball during the Ramblers 25-11, 25-6 loss to Somonauk.
Mooseheart senior Erin Stryker delivers the ball over the net during the Ramblers' defeat by Somonauk. Stryker had 6 digs and 1 kill in the match.
MOOSEHEART, IL, Sept. 24 - In the first week of the season, Mooseheart and Somonauk tried to play their volleyball match at Mooseheart's fieldhouse, but the match had to postponed when the lights failed midway through the second set.
Somonauk had won the first set and was leading in the second set when the lights went out - and the entire match was played on Monday as the Ramblers' homecoming contest. It turned out that the dominant performance by the visitors in the first attempt to play the match was a predictor for how the second match would finish: Somonauk 25-11, 25-6.
"Usually when we see a team twice in a season, it's in a tournament and then a game," Mooseheart coach Kristin Shuman said. "Usually we don't see a team twice in regular season play. I think knowing how tough they were the first time and knowing that it was only a month ago, we were maybe a little overwhelmed."
Despite the disparity in the final score, the Ramblers started well, and trailed 11-7 before Somonauk surged in the opening set.
"They were moving and they were hustling and they were doing smart things," Shuman said. "But it's kind of hard once you get down to pull yourself out of that hole. Mentally, you need to pull yourself out of that hole and we just couldn't get out tonight."
Strong starts have been a feature of Mooseheart's play this season. Despite being 0-9 in non-tournament matches, the team's early-match strength is encouraging.
"I think they really want to win a game this year to prove what they can do," Shuman said. "They have all the right stuff. It's just putting it all together and trusting each other to get there as a team instead of as six individuals on the court."
Mooseheart freshman Abi Alade had another strong match for the Ramblers, with 1 ace, 1 kill and 1 block. Mooseheart routinely plays with Alade, fellow freshman Shannon Johnson as well as sophomores Madison Hart and Jasmine Martinez on the court.
"I am very excited to see, not just the skill that (Alade) has, but her drive to get better," Shuman said. "She is not just someone who has the talent who is going to waste it. I know that, over the course of the next couple of years, bloom and come up big for us."
As these youthful Ramblers mature, Shuman said, the future will continue to look more positive.
"(Johnson and Martinez) are our setters and (Martinez) is a sophomore (Johnson's) a freshman," Shuman said. "We have our two hitters and our two setters who are freshmen or sophomores. It's going to be exciting the next couple of years. We just need to get there."
Senior Erin Stryker continued her solid season, recording 6 digs and 1 kill.