ConVal girls volleyball is learning as they go

  • Above: ConVal junior Molly Cole sets the ball during Tuesday’s 3-0 loss against Milford. Below: Lilly James and Savannah Kersbergen both attempt to dig a Milford spike during the first set. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • The ConVal girls volleyball team fell to Milford 3-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls volleyball team fell to Milford 3-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • ConVal sophomore setter Hannah LeComte looks to set up Molly Coll for a big hit during Tuesday’s home match with Milford. The Cougars fell 3-0. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • The ConVal girls volleyball team fell to Milford 3-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • The ConVal girls volleyball team fell to Milford 3-0 on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:57AM

ConVal girls volleyball coach Amanda Hinton knew there were going to be some bumps along the way this season.

After losing much of last year’s playoff team and then having one of two seniors go down due to injury, the Cougars have gotten into the habit of setting small goals.

“We’re really starting fresh this year, but the girls are working super hard,” Hinton said.

It’s not necessarily about what the scoreboard reads at the end of a match, but how the team played and reacted in certain situations.

“They’re finally starting to identify where the ball is going off the pass,” Hinton said. “So now they’re thinking about where to move and working hard to get to those spots.”

So while the Cougars were absolutely playing to pick up their first win of the season Tuesday night against Milford, the Spartans proved to be too much in a 3-0 defeat.

ConVal is working on things like cutting down missed serves, identifying where passes are going and reacting to opponents’ set plays. Milford on the other hand, came in with a 5-1 record and showed early on that this year’s strength will be in their play on both sides of the net and running set plays.

After taking a quick 2-0 lead in the opening game thanks to an ace from junior Nadia Kazlauskas and a block from junior Molly Cole, Milford showed why they were winners of five of their first six contests.

Led by Gabby Monico’s big hits and disruption at the net, and the serving of Stella Crosby, Milford rattled off 10 straight points on their way to a 25-12 win in game one.

There were bright spots along the way with a few winners from Cole and more big serves from Kazlauskas.

That nice groove the Spartans found in the first game quickly translated into a 13-0 run to start game two – before a Cole tip to finally put ConVal on the scoreboard. But it proved to be just too much of a deficit for the Cougars to overcome.

“Our mistakes are helping us get better because we’re learning,” Cole said.

Yet in no way was this squad going to give up. There’s an understanding among the coaching staff and players that this is a rebuilding year for the team, so every game, every play and every situation can be a chance to learn. No matter the score, the Cougars were diving on the floor to dig out low shots, running to collect and errant pass and trying to disrupt the offensive flow that the Spartans had established.

“We just want to try and power through every play and not give up,” Cole said.

But in the end, Milford’s experience and talent outshined the young and learning ConVal squad.

The Spartans cruised to a 25-8 win in game two, putting ConVal in a rather large hole.

To this point in the season, ConVal had won just a single game and lost its first six match-ups.

But as Hinton said, it’s all about accomplishing those small goals and taking steps forward – even if there are a few hiccups along the way.

“I try to focus on those teachable moments when they come up,” Hinton said. “Because those teachable moments are what will make us a better team.”

Even with the Spartans in complete command, the Cougars fought in that third game. Cole was still at the net to record a pair of blocks. Chloe Ahern had a nice tip and a couple quality service points and sophomore Hannah LeComte patrolled the middle of the floor, looking to dig even the most difficult of Milford spikes and set up her teammates.

Despite the 25-10 loss in game three that ended the home contest with a sweep, Hinton was pleased with the way her team played.

Even though it may not show in the standings, the Cougars are getting better, each practice and every game. The goal now is for that improvement to show up on the scoreboard.

“They’re starting to understand the game of volleyball better,” Hinton said. “We talked about how this is a rebuilding year and they’re going to work as hard as they can to achieve those small goals we set along the way.”

ConVal returns to action on Friday when its plays host to Plymouth for homecoming at 5:15 p.m.


Mascenic 3, Raymond 0

The Vikings came away with a 3-0 victory over Raymond on Monday to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Mascenic made quick work of the match, winning 25-9, 25-12 and 25-11.

Shannon Agonis led the way with 10 kills and two blocks.

The Vikings host Portsmouth Christian on Friday.


WLC 2, Conant 2

The two local squads were tied after regulation, but neither could find the game winner in overtime.

Conant freshman Ethan Vitello scored both Oriole goals, and Garrett Somero had a fantastic game.

WLC hosted Newmarket on Wednesday and will play Hinsdale at home on Monday at 6 p.m.

Conant hosts Mascenic on Saturday for homecoming at 3 p.m.


ConVal picks up first win

The Cougars picked up their first win of the season on Monday, taking third overall at Monadnock.

ConVal shot a team total of 42, behind Derryfield (89) and Monadnock (56), but

Ben Garfinkle led the way with a score of 17, followed by Max Heck (11), and Riley Momenee (7) and Maxwell Davie (7).

On Tuesday at Fall Mountain, ConVal finished with a 37, behind the Wildcats (77), Stevens (50) and John Stark (47).

Garfinkle once again led the way with a 13, with Davie (9), Momenee (4) and Brigham Boice (2) also contributing to the team score.

ConVal travels to Derryfield on Friday.


ConVal 1, Monadnock 0

The Cougars picked up their second win of the season on Monday with a 1-0 victory over Monadnock.

Both of the ConVal wins have come by shutout.

After a scoreless first half, Dee Kashulines centered the ball to Jade Bailey who found the back of the net with her first varsity goal.

ConVal’s next game is Friday when it takes on St. Thomas for homecoming.