KNOX | Maybe Hanover Central was looking ahead to playing Class 3A No. 3 New Prairie as it faced winless Calumet in Tuesday’s opening match at the Knox Sectional.
The Wildcats still won in three sets over the Warriors, 25-17, 25-7 and 25-16, but first-year Hanover coach Erin Zeller wasn’t pleased with the performance.
“This is not exactly how we wanted to start off,” she said. “Calumet is a conference opponent. We played them last week, and we were able to come out really strong against them.
“Then to come back and play like this (Tuesday), I’m kind of a little disappointed.”
Zeller thought her squad played too slowly and didn’t execute like it will need to do Saturday against New Prairie.
“We need to come out and play our best game,” Zeller said. “We need to execute every play and then recover underneath the ball, and that didn’t happen tonight.”
Hanover (20-4) took a 10-1 lead in the first set, but let Calumet draw within 22-16 before closing it out. Hanover dominated the second set, but it fell behind 7-4 in the third set before rallying for the win.
Zeller said Hanover can’t let better opponents go on runs like Calumet did in the third set.
“In volleyball, it’s hard to come back from that kind of deficit, especially against New Prairie,” she said. “We’re going to have to limit our mistakes and execute right away.”
Savanna Zakman had 8 digs and 9 kills for Hanover, while Itzel Lagunas added 12 kills.
Zakman agreed with Zeller’s assessment, and said they’ll have to find New Prairie’s weak spot to win.
“We’ll have to play hard,” she said. “We’re definitely going to bring more momentum and more intensity in that game on Saturday. You’re going to see a whole different team that what you saw (Tuesday).”
It was tough end to the season for Warriors (0-22), who have mainly juniors and freshmen, but they never quit.
“We do have a short team, bless their hearts, but they don’t stop,” said first-year coach Bonnie Williams. “It doesn’t matter what their disadvantages are, they come out ready to play. They want to win, and they work really hard.”
Wheeler plays Knox at 6 p.m. Thursday before Andrean battles Kankakee Valley.