Yorktown went into last night’s home opener against Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory having only played one other game (a 3-0 win against Westfield) this season. But the Braves had already played four games and had only lost one set in that stretch.
Yet the visiting Braves have now lost four sets as the Tigers came out victorious as they defeated their opponent 3-1, giving Yorktown its second straight win.
“We know a lot of their players on that team and we know that they're good,” junior Charlotte Vinson. “...But I think we said you know what, we're better…We just realized that we’ve worked harder.”
The first set did not open how the Tigers probably imagined as the Braves jumped out with a 5-0 scoring run. That is when Yorktown head coach Stephanie Bloom took a timeout.
“I tried to talk to [the team] about settling in,” Bloom said. “Volleyball is a game of momentum, and you have to hold steady when things aren't going great and try to fight… I think they did a great job of holding on and just chipping away one at a time.”
The Tigers did just that. They would find their offensive rhythm and come back to win the set 25-20. They would continue to use that momentum to win the second set 25-11.
“We kind of just felt like that sense of urgency [after struggling in the first set],” senior Kynnadi Bell said. “We all put in each other's head that we needed to step up and that we're playing a volleyball game right.”
But in the third set, the Tigers would fall 23-16. During the fourth set, it was apparent that both teams wanted to leave the gym with a win as it was a back-and-forth battle. But with Bell’s ability to set the ball and Vinson’s potential to score, the Tigers were able to win the set 25-21, giving them the win.
“I just feel like I have to personally make sure that my teammates are on it and just make sure that we're all focused and know what we’re doing,” Bell said.
Bell finished the game with 44 assists and Vincent ended the night leading the Tigers in 21 kills. When Vincent is in the game, she has a specific plan when she gets an opportunity on offense.
“Honestly, just kill [the ball],” she said. “Every time I see the ball, [I just want to] put it down. I have to score and it's not like oh, I want to score… I am supposed to score and I need to score for my team.”
Last season, the Tigers finished the regular season 34-3, and were defeated in the 4A State Championship game at Worthen Arena. To Bloom, she believes that this team has the pieces to make a return.
“This team understands grit and scrap is going to be key to who we are,” she said. “I think if they are willing to lay it on the line night in and night out, anything can happen with this group. So time will tell, but I think they understand the work it's going to take and they're willing to put the work in.”
The Tigers will attempt to start the season 3-0 as they face Avon at home on Saturday. The game is set to start at 10 a.m.
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