Even as Adri Bryk’s Lady Hawks volleyball team was in the doldrums of a 1-6 start, the Hiland coaching staff never gave up on the idea that their inexperienced team would gain confidence, grow together and gel as the season progressed.
They would simply have to be patient and let it happen.
Well, it seems to be happening, and the Lady Hawks are flying high after reeling off three straight victories to improve to 4-6.
The most recent win came at the expense of Newcomerstown. The Lady Hawks hammered away at the Trojans to the tune of 25-19 in game one, then really got down to business in games two and three, eliminating Newcomerstown with 25-10 and 25-11 wins.
That pasting comes on the heels of a pair of three game wins over Malvern and Sandy Valley in which Hiland played comparably well, and all signs point to this team coming together at midseason.
“It’s amazing what a little confidence can do for a team,” said Bryk. “We sat down after we lost to Strasburg, in a game I didn’t feel we gave very good effort, and talked a lot about playing hard and bringing passion every time we go out on the floor. That seemed to bring us together and we have played with a lot of energy the past three games. We have worked hard to play together as a unit.”
Confidence changes everything, and that has been instrumental in the turnaround. Another factor has been that Hiland faced some of its best opponents early in the season, but Bryk said she can see a difference in her team that wasn’t there before.
“We have experienced winning, and now we know that we can win, and that has changed the way we have approached the game,” said Bryk.
As has been the case, Hiland has spread it around during the three straight wins. On this night, it was Kim Miller leading the way with 14 service points, a pair of aces and 15 assists, while she added eight kills. Madisynn Bryk added seven kills, while Katelyn Hershberger came up huge, serving for 14 points, including a whopping five aces, and adding 14 assists. Katelyn Hershberger added 14 assists, while Brittany Wengerd and Arryn Schlabach added 13 and nine digs, respectively.
“Would we like to have that go-to girl, yes we would,” said Coach Bryk. “But right now, we will settle for spreading it around and having everyone contribute. As long as we believe in ourselves, we will be alright. We have definitely cut back on the number of errors we have been making, and we got a great effort from the serving line tonight. We had a lot of aces, and our setters did an nice job of getting the ball where it needed to be.”
The four wins marks twice as many as the Lady Hawks had all of last season, a fact that a number of people have reminded Bryk. She said that is all nice and fine, abut their goals are much higher than that.
“That is great and all, but we have a lot higher expectations than doubling up last year’s win total,” said Bryk.
Should the Lady Hawks continue to improve, and play with confidence, that four win total should be a long-gone memory as they move along.