Wakefield is gearing up for the N.C. High School Athletic Association volleyball playoffs, and there might not be a better venue for prep than what they got Thursday.
In front of an energized Wake Forest crowd, still buzzing from the Senior Night festivities, Wakefield dropped the first set before coming back to win 3-1.
Coach Cynthia Terrell knows the Wolverines (14-5, 10-3) will have to win in loud gyms later this month.
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As the stakes get higher, Wakefield will be looking to prevent mental lapses. That comes with staying loose, she said.
“We have to be consistent in everything that we do and to remain focused on what we do the best, and that is slow our tempo down, make good choices and play smart defense,” Terrell said. “Mental lapses like that is what costs you the crucial points.”
Junior Ade Owokoniran said when Wakefield over-thinks, they don’t talk as much and the problems spiral from there. With less communication, it doesn’t take much for the Wolverines to get off their game; volleyball was never meant to be played silently.
“I think we’re just fun people,” Owokoniran said. “At the end of the day we all like to have fun. And when we get too constricted, we all think about it and then it’s just bad for everyone, because we think about and then we get in our heads and then we get quiet.”
First-year Cougars (5-16, 3-10) coach Katherine Jacob probably wishes she could have bottled up that first-set adrenaline and brought it out a few times this year.
The Cougars were on fire to win 25-23 but lost the next three 25-9, 25-21 and 25-14.
“I think it was their energy and their adrenaline as well as themselves. They wanted it and came out and took it,” Jacob said, also pointing to how much her team has improved throughout the course of the year.
She continued: “As individuals they’ve all progressed in their own way, and as a team they’ve just become closer and closer together and it’s shown as the year has gone along.”
Wake Forest is losing two seniors after this year: Piper Townsend and Maria Markovitz.