Entering Monday night’s conference showdown with Manchester, Fayetteville’s volleyball team had lost four of five games, two of which occurred against tough Southern Hills Athletic Conference competition.
The Rockets looked to get back on track against a Manchester squad that sits in second place in Division II of the SHAC Standings, a game-and-a-half behind North Adams, who has yet to lose a conference match.
Things would not be much better for the Lady Rockets Monday night, as the Lady Greyhounds rolled to a three-set sweep over Fayetteville.
Manchester jumped out to a 6-1 lead over the Rockets in the first set, increasing their lead to 15-2 at one point. They would win the set 25-7. Things got better in the second set for the Rockets, but not quite good enough. They took an early 3-0 lead but senior Summer Wilber served eight straight points to give the Lady Greyhounds the lead. Manchester won the second set 25-12. The third set was arguably Fayetteville’s best set of the entire match, but they still could not keep up with the Lady Greyhounds. Manchester took the set 25-16 and the match three sets to none.
Manchester head coach Tabitha Spires said Wilbur served well and her team helped her maintain that level of play.
“She’s awesome,” Spires said. “She has an excellent serve on her and when she’s getting it in and we keep the serve for her, she’s unstoppable.”
Spires also said she was happy with how prepared her team was for the game and the work they put in once play started.
“The girls came out ready to play,” Spires said. “They worked together as a team, they worked hard. We had excellent serving, excellent hitting, and excellent passing. There’s not one negative thing I can say today, they worked very hard.”
Fayetteville head coach Sharon Sheets, on the other hand, was not as happy with how her team performed. Sheets pointed to one main flaw in the Lady Rockets’ performance.
“Lack of effort, lack of motivation, lack of drive,” Sheets said. “We had too many free balls; we had 31 in three games. We have to hit. When you give a free ball to that kind of team, they’re going to hit it down back at you. We just didn’t have enough good passes to connect with the good attack at the net. We missed too many serves.”
On the bright side, Fayetteville did improve each set, making each one closer than the one before. That fact was not lost on Sheets.
“We decreased our free balls each game,” Sheets said. “We had 15 the first game, 10 the second game and six the last game, and that’s where we had our best score. We were attacking at the net and trying to get the ball to our setter to hit the ball. We did improve in that area.”
The Rockets came out much better Tuesday night against Fairfield. Fayetteville rolled to a 25-17, 25-11, 25-15 sweep, breaking a four-game losing streak in the process.
“The momentum just switched up from Monday night’s game,” Sheets said. “We had more energy, more momentum to the ball. The want was there, the desire to play our kind of volleyball was there.”
The Lady Rockets have their final three matches of the regular season next week. The team has a home contest against Whiteoak 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12, before travelling to Manchester for a rematch the next day. Fayetteville’s final match of the regular season is Thursday, Oct. 15 at home against North Adams.