WARDEN — Warden volleyball fought hard in the opener against Connell, but came up short as they were swept at home 25-23, 25-12, 25-21.
Down 8-3 early in the first set, Warden fought back to tie the game at 16-16. The set went back and forth, with four ties, before Connell pulled away to take it 25-23. In the second set, Connell got off to a hot start, going up 7-0. The Cougars put up an effort, but were never able to claw back as the Eagles took a two-set lead, 25-12.
Connell got off to another quick start in the third set, going up 7-0 again. The Cougars fought back, cutting the lead to two points at 21-19, before the Eagles finally pulled away in the end to take the final set and match, 25-21.
After a big loss against Connell in the season opener, Warden head coach Dennis Treat was pleased with his young team’s performance. “This team competed, and they’ll (Connell) be one of the top one or two teams in the league I think,” Treat said. “We’re not far away.”
Treat said he thinks his team may have caught Connell off guard in the first set, with how strongly they came out against them. But the Warden coach said the Eagles responded swiftly.
“They’re a great team, and they answered and showed us why they’ve been where they’ve been,” Treat said.
The Warden head coach was happy with his team’s blocking against a line of big hitters on the opposite side of the net. Outside hitter Alexia Hernandez played well, playing a solid game with plenty of swings, Treat said. Kayla Golladay also had a strong performance, hitting well for the Cougars, especially in the opening set.
Golladay finished with 4 kills and 6 blocks in the match. Hernandez tallied 17 digs and 3 kills for the Cougars. Averie Golladay also had 5 kills and 5 blocks for Warden, while Kiana Rios finished with 2 blocks and 16 digs.
Relying heavily on a large sophomore class, Treat said his young team still has room for improvement moving forward this year.
“Two or three different plays, if we’re thinking about it we might do something different, or if our mental toughness improves,” Treat said. “I think the exciting thing for our team is we have room to grow still, and I think, hopefully, with this start we’ll be able to build off of this and be able to improve as we go through the season.”
Warden’s next match is against River View next Tuesday, Sept. 17, at home.