Pioneer volleyball looks to recover from adversity

 

The Pioneer volleyball team looks to get back to its winning streak this week. After a strong 7-3 start to the season, the Pioneers have endured a tough stretch of opponents.

During the incredibly tough stretch, the Pioneers have dropped their last five matches falling to 7-8 overall and to 2-5 in the GLIAC this season.

After a strong 7-3 start to the season, the Pioneers have endured a tough stretch of opponents. (Photo courtesy of Andy Smith)

“We just passed through the most difficult stretch of our schedule,” head volleyball coach Tanya Hockman said. “The north division is tough, but we still hope to win the south.”

The Pioneers jumped to a quick start this year and success is nothing new to this squad.

“The fact that we have done so well in the past few years has definitely encouraged us,” senior setter Kimberly McCracken said. “Especially us seniors.”

Winning games is expected from the leaders on the team.

“We definitely have a standard we set for ourselves,” McCracken said. “The past three years we have reached nationals and past experience will help us the rest of this season.”

“We haven’t reached our potential but we still have the confidence in one another,” assistant coach Rafael Gonzalez said. “We started strong at the beginning and somehow we lost confidence and we have to regain that.”

The Pioneers believe that with some extra time working on fundamentals and keeping a clear head, there is still time to create something special.

“We are waiting for it to click back together,” Gonzalez said.

The team credits much of its early success to its hard work over the offseason and preseason.

“The summer workouts really helped eliminate injury,” Hockman said. “The long preseason can be grueling, but it gives us a chance to work on fundamentals that are difficult to find time for during the regular season.”

Often it is the mental game that plays a major factor in the outcome of a contest.

“Early this year we were playing to win, not hoping to win,” Hockman said, “We just need the big C and confidence is missing. We haven’t played our best volleyball.”

Despite the mental barriers and struggles, the Pioneers have regrouped for the next few weeks of their season.

“We are very eager to bounce back,” Hockman said. “It’s been a rough past couple of weeks and our biggest thing is not letting our heads hang and continue to practice hard.”

The Pioneers look to fall back on their early success and view their downfall as a way to only progress.

“Adversity can make you stronger if you allow it to,” Hockman said. “We want this to be stepping stones.”

The Pioneers look to turn things back around this Friday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m., when they travel to face off against Northern Michigan University.

 

 Tim Woods is a sports writer for The Aviso AVW.

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