Parkland volleyball advance to regional final
The Parkland College Cobras volleyball team advanced to the regional final after a four set victory over Rend Lake College in their final home game of the season. The Cobras seemed to be a little off in the beginning of their game.
“We were definitely the heavy favorite so we had to keep an emotional commitment to each other and to the match and we didn’t do a very good job of that tonight,” said head coach Cliff Hastings.
Even with the early struggle the team seemed to rally around the electric feel in the gym to take the first set by a wide margin of 25 to nine. Hastings thought that for the team to be successful they were going to have to serve and receive serves well.
“Once we got that mindset that we can’t just go through the motions it was easier for us to win,” said Sofi Kelemete, freshman middle hitter. Once the Cobras regrouped things started to go their way as they won the second set 25-16.
It looked at this point as if it was going to be a straight set victory for the Cobras in their final home game of the year, but Rend Lake refused to go quietly as they rallied to take the third set 17-25. The Cobras then went on to take the fourth set.
“I feel like the first two sets and the last set were strong to finish, but not really to start off with and the third set wasn’t our best, but we have to work on it,” said Virtuous Thomas, a freshman Libero, about the team’s overall performance on the night.
Thomas also said that during practice they do drills to work on communication and trusting each other. One such drill is where they must set the ball around the court with their eyes closed listening to their teammates directing them.
Most of the Cobra’s problems that night were on the mental game as opposed to the physical side of things; Hastings remarked that the team didn’t keep their focus very well. Despite these setbacks, he was not concerned because they have performed very well against good competition this season.
The biggest challenge for the Cobras from here on out might well be fighting complacency to stay focused. Thomas said that to stay focused, they start each match with their fired up cheer and then try to play their game instead of trying to match the other side.
With the win on Wednesday night the Cobras have extended the historic winning streak as they improve to 52-0 on the season, which has left many fans with high expectation for the final stretch run through the NJCAA national tournament.
The Parkland College Cobras played again on Nov. 7 against Lewis and Clark, where they won 3-0 and advanced to the national tournament for the eight year in a row. The NJCAA National Tournament is held in Phoenix, AZ on Nov. 19-21. They will be looking to bring home the first championship since 1999 to Parkland College.
Lizzy Barnard and Rowan Crozier lead the team with eight kills apiece. Madison Harpest had 23 digs to lead the cobras Barnard also added 15 digs, Miaya Peacock added 12 digs of her own. Jamie Johnson and Courtney Moritz each had 20 assists to lead the team, and Kailey Klienert was an imposing force at the net with 6 blocks for the cobras.