With a young team there will be bumps and bruises, good points and bad points along the course of a long season. The Pirates felt some of those bruises on Tuesday. Valle Catholic took advantage of some of Perryville’s mistakes to oust the Lady Pirates in straight sets 25-22, 25-22. Perryville returns just one senior starter from last season, and at points in the game Perryville coach Cindy Cissell saw some of that inexperience shine through.
“We just didn’t play very well,” she said. “Some of it is nerves and some of it is that we didn’t communicate very well. When that happens you aren’t going to win very many games.”
In the second set, the Pirates found themselves in a 16-13 hole and climbed out of it, starting with a kill by Kristen Kaempfe, one of her six on the night. That started a string of good fortune for the Pirates as they won seven of the next eight points, including a kill by senior setter Avery Wibbenmeyer to go with her 16 assists on the night. The Pirates went up 20-17, forcing a timeout by the Warriors.
But all the momentum was lost somewhere in that 60-second break, as the Pirates lost the next five points to fall into a 22-20 hole, one they could never climb out of.
“We come out of the timeout , up three points and then lose the next five points because of silly, unforced errors,” Cissell said. “when that happens it’s just a momentum killer and something we have to learn from.”
The Pirates have played Valle Catholic, a quality opponent, to start the season for the past few years, and while the Warriors have reached the Class 1 state playoffs on a regular basis, Cissell noted it’s a good measuring stick game for her team to kick off the new year.
“It’s usually a barn burner that goes three sets,” she said. “Unfortunately for us that wasn’t the case this year. But I saw some good things and some not so good things that only comes with playing games at the varsity level.”
The first set saw the Pirates stick close to the Warriors, even building a 11-8 lead early in the set. However, every time the Warriors needed a point they went to sophomore Ella Bertram, who had 10 kills on the night. Valle won the next three points to tie the game at 11-11 and Bertram‘s kill gave the Warriors a 16-15 lead, one they wouldn’t give back the rest of the first set. The first game was a learning experience for all, and Cissell said that her team knows it better than anybody.
“They already know,” she said. “They were saying it in the huddle after the game. We have a lot of work to do.”