Searching for anything to save it from a disastrous start, the Rock Island volleyball team suddenly found some magic from within.|
No timeout, motivational speech or tide-turning play saved the Rocks on Thursday night. Instead, Rocky overcame a shaky start by fixing the issues as a team during a 25-13, 25-18 Western Big 6 Conference win over Galesburg at the Rock Island Fieldhouse.
"You get kids who think too much instead of playing," Rocky coach Bill Churchill said. "I like to think we play one speed, but sometimes that doesn't happen. You've got to get them some extra motivation."
All it took was a glance at the scoreboard. Early in the first game, the Rocks (23-3, 6-1 Big 6) trailed 5-1 and struggled returning the ball over the net.
"We realized we needed to pick it up," Rocky junior defensive specialist Krystin Plohr said. "We were better than that -- we could play better."
What Churchill labeled as a "flat" start was replaced with an impressive finish. Ignited by a Haley Ohlsen kill, the Rocks started a nine-point rally that gave them a 21-11 lead.
The front line snagged three kills via the block and Rebecca Thomson added a point with an ace. In that rally, four players had a kill.
"Runs are what we try to do," Churchill said.
Galesburg (6-12, 3-4) struggled to contain the rally.
"We just have an issue where we shut down at times," Galesburg coach Marla Clay said. "You saw it. For the life of me, I'd like to fix it, but I'm struggling to fix it right now."
Other than a late four-point Galesburg rally, the Rocks continued their mastery in the second game. Taryn VanEarwage tallied four kills and two aces in that stretch and Jacqueline Twing, who finished with a match-high 17 assists, added two kills.
Before the closing stretch, Rocky did not allow the Silver Streaks to have a rally extend past two points. On the other end, the Rocks had two rallies of four points or more.
"We executed better," Churchill said. "It was a simple matter of execution."
The next task is continuing the improved execution at league-leading Quincy (23-1, 6-0) on Tuesday night.
"I'm excited," said Plohr, who had a team-high five digs. "It's going to be a tight game, but we're doing everything we can (to win)."
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