WENDELL — Having the right mix of players is important, especially in volleyball when most times there is less than a second for a team of six players to come together as one unit and react to a ball with an ever-changing point of direction.
For a Corinth Holders volleyball team that possesses a rarity in any high school sport – four four-year starters on the roster – the mix is there this season.
It’s that talent and experience that propelled the Pirates to a 3-0 mark after its first week of play which culminated with a 3-0 win over West Johnston Thursday night, 25-13, 25-9, 25-14.
“From where we started four years ago, we’ve come a long way,” said Pirates coach Charles Riley who has led the program from the very beginning. “Those girls know the system.
“We’re still learning and I think we’ve got a long way to go but this is a good start for us.”
Four-year starters Lindsay Alford, Lexi Consiglio, Cole Narron and Cyarra Pierson helped the Pirates continue their hot start against the Wildcats.
Narron registered three of her five kills on the night in the first set while Alford posted three blocks in the opening game as the duo exerted its dominance at the net early on.
Alford finished her night with eight kills in addition to her six blocks.
“I thought Lindsay and Cole were just ripping the ball,” said Riley. “They had a real good night at the net.”
Pierson also added five kills on the night and Consiglio was instrumental in getting the ball from the back row to an attacking position all match long.
It was that transition game that caused the most problems for the Wildcats, who lost six players from its 23-win team from last season.
“Our first contact was not the problem tonight,” said West Johnston coach Jerry Hogan. “But that transition and being ready to be aggressive after that first contact was the piece that was missing tonight.”
West Johnston (1-3) received solid play from Hayley Restaneo in the back row as she covered line to line for the Wildcats and led the team with eight digs.
But the Wildcats could not find the offensive rhythm on a night when Hannah Cooper led the squad with two kills.
West Johnston did show some fight in the third set to claw back to within one point of the Pirates at 10-9.
Behind a pair of aces from Brooke Applequist and a block from Kirsten Bost, the Wildcats grabbed momentum for the first time all night.
But after Corinth Holders earned a sideout, the Pirates scored seven points in a row to claim control of the final set.
For Hogan, he feels he has the right ingredients on this year’s team, but there will be some mixing that needs to take place before his Wildcats see the results they have come accustomed to over the last several years.
“I think we’ve got everything in the bowl,” Hogan said, comparing his team’s skills to baking ingredients,. “We’ve got the eggs, we’ve got the vanilla, we’ve got the milk, we’ve got the flour – everything’s in the bowl but we haven’t quite made cake yet.
“I really feel like this is a team that is going to finish strong because the pieces are there and I really feel like in October, we might have some cake.”