Green Hope’s bench had to wait awhile before they could cheer on their teammates on Tuesday.
They, and upt to five players on the court at any given time, had been silent the whole first game in a nonconference volleyball match at Northern Durham, and for a particular reason.
Coach Karl Redelfs wanted to get a point across to his team about communication. So for the first game, only the setter could speak.
“It was kind of to prove a point that one person can’t do it all,” junior Margot Ruffieux said. “Everyone has to come together and communicate to be effective. So then game two, when we started talking, communicating and knowing what we were doing we got our energy up and it got a lot better.”
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The final score drives home Redelfs’ point. Green Hope came away with a 25-21, 25-9, 25-15 win that got easier once the silence was broken.
“The parents were in the stands going ‘Talk girls! Talk!’” Ruffieux said.
The Falcons’ serving improvd as the match went along too.
Green Hope had six service errors in game one.
“I told them to serve aggressive and I think it got to their heads a little bit. So they got a little crazy,” Redelfs said.
The Falcons dialed it down.
“We decided to go 80 percent instead of 100 percent,” said Ruffieux, who had four aces to go with a team-high 13 kills.
By the end of the match, they had 16 aces. Lexi Chaize had five and Anna Baucomhitch had three.
Green Hope missed the postseason last year after two of its best, and college-bound, players suffered season-ending knee injuries. There’s excitement around this year’s team – so long as it stays healthy.
Haley Bidgood, a senior committed to East Carolina who was one of those who missed last year, has yet to play this season due to a fractured pinky finger.
“Our main focus this year is stuff that we control like our energy,” junior Allison O’Connor (eight kills) said. “We can control how we are on serve receive. Not worrying about what the other team is doing.”
Abby Kott had six kills for the Falcons.
Northern, not handcuffed by silence, led 18-15 late in the first game. The Knights will take that as a bright spot during this year’s major rebuilding mode.
“I told my girls I was proud of them,” fifth-year Northern coach Steven Barnes said. “Now, the consistency and the maintenance that’s necessary to maintain that the whole five or three sets is really what I need to work on with them.”
Barnes has no seniors and seven freshmen, four of whom played regularly Tuesday night.
“It’s difficult because most of the kids don’t play travel ball and they’re kind of new in the game. So I’m teaching them from the roots raw and trying to get them to a certain point,” Barnes said. “Green Hope is a really good team normally and actually I try not to play teams like Green Hope. But this year we really needed to put someone on the schedule. We only have 16 games on our schedule. So these girls, without more games they are not going to get better because they don’t play in the offseason.”
The Knights (0-2) were led individually by Jamyiaa Moore’s three kills and one block, Cheyanne Cothron’s four kills and libero Torri Rhodes’ four aces.
Northern may have dropped the match, but with no player up for Senior Night honors, the future is full of excitement.
“I’d love to play Green Hope again next year,” he said.