Girls continue to take steps
With last Thursday’s win over Pocono Mountain West, the Whitehall girls volleyball team continues to take steps in the right direction as they approach the midway point of the season.
They earned their second victory of the season with a straight set win over the visiting Panthers, 25-11, 25-18 and 25-11.
Head coach Eric Budge has been reinforcing the notion that they’re still learning how to close out games, and during the second set after PMW cut the led to two points on two separate occasions, they were able to withstand those rallies and complete the seven-point victory.
The win could be traced to outstanding play among a host of Zephyrs. Alyson Peters led the way with 23 kills and 10 blocks, while Lexi Crum helped generate a lot of those points with 37 assists. She also had five aces during the match.
Budge also pointed to their ability to score points from the service line as well as their ability to handle their opponent’s serve. Those two areas helped lead to their win.
“We had really good service and serve receive all night long,” said Budge.
West proved to be no pushover as they continually hustled after ever ball. Budge said that they’re a well-coached team that goes after every single point.
Whitehall had its own counterpoint to the Panthers’ attack, with Peters basically taking over large portions of the game with her play at the net. Budge said part of that success was the result of freeing her up by utilizing various rotations with different hitters around her.
She once again led the team in kills, showcasing a powerful right arm that can drop the ball with authority.
“She works really hard on that aspect of her game, and she has really great court vision,” said Budge.
Peters, who’s played under three different head coaches during her varsity career, said that making the adjustments to accommodate their different styles has been a challenge. That ranges from how they conduct practices, to their expectations on the court.
“You really have to trust what they say and really believe what they’re teaching you,” said Peters.
Budge said that Peters has emerged as their leader and has incorporated a little bit of everyone who has coached her, including varsity level and club ball.
Peters said that she’s been able to incorporate what she’s learned from all her coaches into her game. It’s allowed her to be one of the best frontcourt players in the league.
The early part of the season has been tough, and those losses can weigh on a team, but last Thursday’s win allowed them to get back to feeling like a cohesive unit.
“It got us back in the motion of playing together and felling like a team,” said Peters.
Peters said that they concentrated on executing well, while also relying on good communication throughout the game.
A lot of the offense is funneled through Peters, and the senior embraces the workload.
“Personally, I like it because it holds me to a higher standard,” said Peters. “Everyone’s relying on me.”
Peters would like this season to culminate in a district playoff appearance. She would also like to make the EPC’s first team as an all-star.
They got closer to that district berth with their third win of the season, knocking of Pottsville last Saturday in four sets.
Crum also had an excellent game against PMW, according to Budge. He said she made smart decisions with the ball and that allowed then to have success offensively.
Another player who had a strong game at the net was Aiyana Powenski. She registered six kills and added two blocks during her stint on the court. Budge said that it was Powenski’s best game of the season to date. He also said that she assumed a different role in that game, working more as a middle hitter against the Panthers. The senior demonstrated her lightning-quick strike at the net, leading to a couple of blistering kills.
Ultimately, they succeeded in finishing an opponent, something that’s eluded them in a number of games this season.
“That will definitely build confidence in the team as a whole,” said Budge.