Panic doesn’t pay off, but patience does.
It was certainly the case for the Green Hope volleyball squad, which dropped the first game of its match against Panther Creek 25-22 Thursday before bouncing back to win 3-1 with games of 25-17, 25-22 and 25-13.
The Falcons (10-3, 6-1) won the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference match to stay in first place at the halfway point.
Haley Bidgood and Margot Ruffieux combined for 26 kills in Thursday’s rivalry win. The Falcons blew several leads in the first game before dropping it to the Catamounts, but improved in all facets after that.
“After that first game we got our energy up and came back from the rut we were in,” said Bidgood, who had 16 kills and three aces. “They have some big hitters but we were able to change tactics in order to win.”
Part of the change was a more tenacious defense, led by Moriah Tavana’s energy and sprawling digs.
Ruffieux said her teammates picked up their focus and intensity and wore down a Catamounts (5-5, 3-4) squad despite quality play from Caitlyn Della, whose kill sealed the first game win.
Della had a pair of kills midway through the second game to bring her team within 14-12, but Abby Kott answered with two kills for the Falcons who pulled away from there.
“We started anticipating where they would hit the ball and then we made sure we had pinpoint passing too,” Ruffieux said.
Panther Creek enjoyed spurts of strong play, especially in the first and third games, but coach Holly Fong wasn’t pleased with her players’ lack of consistency.
“We stopped playing after the first game and didn’t go after every ball,” lamented Fong, who shot out of her chair throughout the match to encourage and instruct her players. “They have to want it more than me.”
Green Hope coach Karl Redelfs said his squad didn’t panic after dropping the first game, instead re-doubling its efforts to win.
“These players are so resilient and tenacious,” Redelfs said. “They did an awesome job.”