Clarksville volleyball head coach Glen Fox didn’t have to worry about his players being ready for Tuesday night’s game.
Not only did they honor seniors Emersen Head, Myrtle Yates, Sydney Evans, Caroline Griffin, Syndi Krussow and Rainee Pike before the game, but it was their biggest home rivalry game of the year with the Rossview Lady Hawks coming to their side of Warfield Blvd.
The biggest concern was how they would handle that energy, and they did admirably to begin the game. After beating RHS 3-1 a few weeks prior with mostly close sets, they waltzed to 25-12 and 25-13 wins to open Tuesday’s contest.
“In practice, we’ve been talking about emotion and playing within themselves and executing,” Fox said. “It starts with the defense and the passing. We were working on just focusing on the defense and the passing. The hitting will always come, so we were passing well and serving well. We got them out of their game those first two sets.”
They appeared primed to sweep their foes out of the gym when they extended their third set lead to 19-10, but suddenly, something changed in the Lady Hawks.
“I think it was the rotation of who was on the court,” said RHS head coach Tishara Hicks. “Just having that new energy come on the court and lift everybody up.”
They went on to score 15 of the next 19 points, staging a miraculous comeback to take the set. The fourth set was close as well, but Clarksville eventually took it 25-20, winning the match 3-1 and sweeping the season series.
That third set wasn’t the first time this season that CHS has seen what seemed like a surefire victory go by the wayside.
“That’s kind of been our M.O. this year,” Fox said. “When we start losing it, we lose it quick. I’d like to say that’s only happened this time, but we’ve lost some games this year where we put it on somebody in the first set, then all of a sudden it’s a different team out there.
“We’re working hard at getting our mental side a little bit better where we can focus and let things grow, not drop off the cliff too much. We know it’s going to be difficult at times, but that’s unacceptable for us tonight to lose a 19-10 lead in our house.”
Hicks said that she felt her team was over-anxious in the first two sets; that they were excited but not controlled. That was likely fueled by the overflow crowd packed into Clarksville’s small auxiliary gym, where they choose to play volleyball to maximize fan noise.
Still, she was proud that her players managed to find their game and rally back to take a set when all seemed lost.
Rossview will return to action on Thursday, Sept. 16 at West Creek, whereas Clarksville faces a quick turnaround and will host the Northwest Lady Vikings on Wednesday, Sept. 15.