TRAVERSE CITY — If it’s true that a team can learn more about itself from a loss than a win, than Grayling’s girls volleyball team picked up a great deal of knowledge in Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Traverse City St. Francis in Traverse City.
While the Gladiators improved their record to 15-6 overall and 5-1 in the Lake Michigan Conference, the Vikings came away with a good feeling about their ability to hang with the state power, especially after being overwhelmed in the first set.
Grayling could easily have folded and just gone through the motions the rest of the match after being overwhelmed, 15-25 in the first set.
But the Vikings picked themselves off the deck and made a more competitive game of it in the next two sets, although they lost both, 20-25 and 23-25.
“For us, it was just a great back-and-forth battle,” Grayling coach Tim Zigila said. “The first game, yeah, they got us by 10 points, but we closed the gap the next two sets.
“This is the second time in a row that we’ve played one of our best games of the season, and even though the outcome was not what we hoped it would be, I was all right with that. I thought the girls played really, really well.
“You know, it’s not a fun environment to go to. Their student section was there, lots of parents. Our girls went out there and battled all three sets, and I was really happy with their effort.”
After the first set, the Vikings stayed right with the Gladiators, trading points with them and keeping things close. They made the Gladiators work for every point.
One reason Grayling was able to do so well was because of its unerring serving. The Vikings finished the match with only seven service errors the entire night.
“We need to clean up our serve receive a little bit,” Zigila said. “Traverse is very aggressive. I would not be surprised if they served in the high 90’s tonight.
“But we blocked very well, and we covered on ‘D.’ We were maybe half a dozen plays away from having a complete game.?
Aliana Anderson stepped up to the attack line and buried five kills, Kynadi Dole was a rock at the net with five solo blocks, Alison Brown contributed 10 assists.
The Vikings had a cancellation and will be off now their scheduled to play their Pink Out game against Kalkaska on Wednesday, Oct. 20. It will also be Senior Night.
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