After an 0-2 start, the Mountlake Terrace volleyball team needed something to change its early season fortunes.
Following practice on Wednesday the players got together for some dinner and fun, and according to coach Marietta Snyder, that off-the-court experience on Wednesday paid off on-the-court Thursday night.
The Hawks picked up their first regular season win of the year with a 25-20, 25-18, 25-14 victory over Lynnwood at Mountlake Terrace High School.
“They had a little bonding thing and got themselves out of their funk,” Snyder said of her squad. “They played really well. Lynnwood is a good team, but my girls decided to bring it on and play for themselves.”
Terrace found themselves trailing to the Royals in Thursday’s second set, but powered their way back with steady digs from Ali Hitchcock and strong front line play of Madison Eich and Nicki Bouche.
“I’m very proud of the team. To lose two back-to-back was kind of hard,” Snyder said.
The Mountlake Terrace coach points to the first set of the Hawks’ first match as when things started to unravel for her team emotionally. The team played well but lost 32-30, then went on to lose the match 3-0. “The team got down on themselves,” Snyder said.
The emotional letdown carried over to the second match against Marysville-Pilchuck. “Same thing over at Marysville; they just didn’t have it together,” Snyder said.
“They were, I think, just spooked by their first loss.”
Snyder gives credit to the squad’s three senior captains, Eich, Justine Kelly and Meg Roberts, for the early-season turnaround. “The senior captains did a great job picking up the team; they’re great leaders,” she said.
Having that senior leadership is vital for building passion and drive in a team, Snyder said. “I can only teach them fundamentals and how to get to the ball. But I think the spirit part of it has to be from their own teammates. I can be a cheerleader for them, but it’s just not the same.”
Lynnwood coach Annalise Mudaliar pointed to her squad’s failure to keep the pressure on Terrace during the second set as a key to Thursday’s outcome. “We started playing not to lose instead of playing to win,” she said. “We started to play cautious, afraid of making mistakes.”
The Royals were competing in their first road match of the 2013 season on Thursday, always a challenge for a young team. “Most of them are new varsity players.
We’re learning and re-building,” Mudaliar said.
Lynnwood 20 18 14 — 0
Terrace 25 25 25 — 3
Records: Mountlake Terrace 1-2; Lynnwood 0-2
Next matches: Mountlake Terrace travels to Cascade on Monday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m.; Lynnwood travels to the South Whidbey Invitational Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 21, first matches at 9 a.m.