- Keith Hjelle
Great Expectations Lead Charger VB to Three Set Win Over Earlham
A major difference between an athletic team that wins frequently and one that is not so fortunate is expectation. Any team that is consistently successful is one with high expectations. There is a swagger among the players that exudes confidence which shows up on the athletic field or court. This confident, skilled team expects to win each time it takes on an opponent. This is not the same as being overconfident or disrespectful of one's opponent. It is simply that the successful team believes it will always win, while the wanna be team doubts itself.
The ACGC volleyball team is getting close to having those consistent high expectations. The program has put together three consecutive winning seasons, with the last two teams each winning twenty one games. The current Charger team is now 12-1 on the season after defeating Earlham last night on the Cardinal home court in straight sets, 25-13, 25-16, and 25-17.
As this observer watched the two teams warm up in preparation for the contest, it was apparent which team was the better. The Chargers were better in serving, hitting, setting and digging. There was no doubt who was going to win the match. It was just a matter of what the score would be.
The first set was tied at 5-5 when Charger Audrey Stowe came to the serve. Stowe's powerful jump serve devastated the Cardinals, as ACGC scored eleven consecutive points with the junior at the service. The eleven consecutive points scored is a season high for the Chargers. The Cardinals were unable to return several of Stowe's strong serves and teammates backed her up with near perfect volleys. When Stowe finished her serve ACGC had broken away to a 16-5 lead and it was clear to this writer that the match was over at that point.
With strong net play by Chloe Largent, Kylie Young, and Saige O'Brien, plus good digging and setting by Stowe, Olivia Laabs, and Reese Coffman there was no doubt that the Chargers would pick up its fourth consecutive conference win. Although Earlham closed the gap somewhat in sets two and three, ACGC was never seriously threatened.
In addition to Stowe's eleven serve run, she finished 20 of 21 in serving for the night and scored 12 aces! She also came up with 26 assists. Young was a perfect 14 of 14 from behind the line. As a team the Chargers had one of their better serving nights with a serving efficiency of 91%. Largent had a good night at the net as she led the team in kills with 16 and a kill efficiency rating of .407. Laabs came up with 15 digs, while the team had only two blocks for the night.
The competition on the horizon will be a test for Charger expectations. On Saturday ACGC will host its own tournament, with eight teams participating. Three of those teams are racking up wins to this point. Through matches played last night CR-B was 12-1 on the season and Glidden-Ralston was 8-1. Defending tournament champion Underwood is 10-4, with its losses coming against either 3A and 4A schools or solid small school programs. Several teams with high expectations, including ACGC. The first matches are scheduled for 9 AM
Looking into next week, the Chargers will have its toughest conference test to date when defending WCAC champion Des Moines Christian comes to town on Tuesday. So, lots of opportunity for great expectations. Go Chargers!
ACGC 25 15 25
Earl 13 16 17