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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Concordia freshman LonDynn Betts prepares to serve during Tuesday's SAC match at Snider.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Concordia's Maddy Anderson goes up to hit the ball during the match against Snider at Snider High School on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:00 am

Cadets stay loose under pressure

Open SAC season with dominating sweep of Panthers

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

Concordia volleyball doesn't feel the pressure. If it does, it doesn't show it. And it thrives in those pressure-filled situations.

“We know we have great competition out there and we thrive on (the pressure),” Concordia coach Tricia Miller said. “Those are our favorite moments. Pressure's only if you're not prepared.”

In their first regular season, non-tournament SAC matchup, the Cadets didn't face much pressure – they dished it out – as they defeated the Snider Panthers in three sets 25-12, 25-12, 25-16 at Snider.

“I thought we played really pretty clean tonight. You can't give them a window because they'll come after you, and I felt that our kids constantly kept the pressure on tonight and didn't make a lot of consecutive errors,” Miller said.

The first set was all Concordia as the Cadets jumped out to a 12-3 lead. However, the second set saw Snider take a 5-3 advantage. The Cadets then rattled off 10 straight points with the help of strong serving by freshman LonDynn Betts.

Betts has already proved she belongs on varsity.

“From the day she stepped on the court, she wasn't intimidated,” Miller said. “She belonged and she was in there battling every day.”

Miller said Betts brings an “I'm going to take your position” vibe every time she steps on the court.

It was her goal to make varsity as a freshman, and Betts said playing confident in herself and her teammates is what helps her succeed.

“Not letting my guard down just because I'm a freshman but also to challenge the older girls to be better,” Betts said. “It's my time to show the coaches how much I can grow.”

While Concordia dominated the match, senior setter Caroline Morrison kept telling her team to use it as a way to get better.

“What I kept saying tonight was that we need to fine-tune ourselves, using these games to really work our offense and push our limits,” Morrison said.

The three-year varsity member and now captain runs the Cadets' offense. Miller said she's one of the smartest setters she's ever coached.

“She does a really good job of seeing the blocker and getting our hitters one-on-one,” Miller said. “She's one of the greatest leaders I've ever coached. As far as a senior, she's just taken this team on her shoulders and just makes everybody better.”

After falling to Dwenger in a five-set thriller in the Preseason SAC Tournament, and to Bellmont the next match, the Cadets have stepped it up.

“We really flipped our sense of urgency,” Morrison said. “We banded together as a team and we realized that in those pressure situations we needed to make less errors and work better as a team.”

Miller said this Cadets team practices harder than any team she's coached in her 31 years.

“Every day we go in with a game plan of how to get better, because there's a million things of what we can do to get better, and this team is hungry for that,” Miller said.

“Sometimes you'll take a loss and it's hard to take all those things you need to work on and not let it get the mental side of you, and this group of kids has really taken those losses and have really stuck together and battled.”

ewyman@jg.net