Archive for Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Despite ‘tough’ loss, MHS volleyball successful

November 4, 2008

McLouth High volleyball coach Erika Houk wasn’t sure what hit the Bulldogs in their sub-state tournament Oct. 25 at Pleasant Ridge.

Maybe it was the environment, or the fact that MHS had to play the host team, or nerves, or a combination of all three, but the second-year MHS coach said her team was mentally defeated before it stepped on the court at Pleasant Ridge that day.

“It was probably the worst game of the year,” Houk said of the Bulldog’s 25-10, 25-11 loss at PRHS in the opening round of a Class 3A sub-state tournament. “It was tough.”

The Bulldogs, a lot of them playing their first sub-state contest, weren’t themselves and Pleasant Ridge was nearly unstoppable, as nothing seemingly hit its side of the floor, giving PRHS momentum that was too much for MHS to overcome.

But Houk said she expects the players to remember the upsetting loss and feed off of it.

“I think it’s a learning experience, especially for the players who will be back next year,” she said.

Ultimately, the 2008 season was a success for McLouth. The Bulldogs (22-15) posted their best record in 20 years, showing a lot of improvement from the previous season when they were 14-22. Houk said she was very happy with the team’s success — MHS was 7-4 in the Delaware Valley League, finishing fifth — and is looking forward to her third year as coach.

She said the team will miss departing seniors Haley Holwick, Kasey Campbell and Amanda Friesz, but they have a core of young players returning, including co-captains Kylie Shufflebarger and Courtney Chilcoat, both juniors.

The Bulldogs also will return libero Logan Terry, Cassidy Bristol, Jeri Holwick, Terri Stewart and Jessie Troupe.

Houk said having such a large core returning should help a lot because they will be used to playing together.

“I think next year will be our strongest year,” she predicted, noting that the players have good chemistry and know what to expect from their coach.

Houk told her players if they don’t want the season to end in the same fashion next year, they would have to work in the offseason.

“They started a program and they just have to keep building on it,” Houk said.

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