Here’s an helpful tip: if you go to a Louisa Lions volleyball game anytime in the near future, know with almost complete certainty that you can bet your house on whether the Lions will win or lost the match based on their performance in the opening set.
So far this year, the 7-5 Lions have managed to perfect the paradox of being consistently inconsistent. In every match they have won, it’s been by a score of 3-0. In every single match they have lost, it has been by the same lopsided result of 0-3.
“We’ve found that when we win that first game, we’re positive, we have the momentum and we roll from there,” head coach Joel Abe said. “But if we stumble out of the blocks, we have a hard time picking ourselves back up and really pushing through that.”
With such varying results, momentum throughout the season hasn’t been easy to find for Louisa, but they have managed to far exceed the results of last year’s team, which went winless in conference play. This season, Louisa has managed to win three district games, dominating Charlottesville twice and school-rival Orange County once.
Still, it’s impossible to ignore the losses the team has suffered, too. Blowout losses to division powerhouse programs such as Fluvanna and Western Albemarle are also on the schedule. Bad sets or missed serves that fade from memory in victories become the components of defeat against upper-level programs in the district.
“If you give [those teams] a free ball, they’re going to run strong offense against you,” Abe said.
And while Abe is quick to credit victorious opponents, he knows that the struggle with consistency is an internal one for the Lions.
“There have been matches where we’ve struggled to find consistency,” Abe said. “The opponents do impact it, but so do things within our control as well.”
One area Abe is looking for improvement in on the latter part of the schedule is in the area of offense. While he said the team has done well with ball control due to great back row defense, the level of offensive attack against opponents has been too lenient in some games, and too non-strategic in others.
To read the entire story, see the Oct. 17 edition of The Central Virginian.