Girls drop leads against PEI

If they were realistic, hopes were not too high in their opening games against Alberta and Manitoba this week in the Canada Summer Games.

If they were realistic, hopes were not too high in their opening games against Alberta and Manitoba this week in the Canada Summer Games.

But when it came to Wednesday’s game against home team, PEI, at the CARI Complex in Charlottetown, the Yukon girls’ volleyball team knew they had their best opportunity for a win thus far and definitely

proved their capabilities with leads in all three sets.

However, in the end there were too many errors and missed opportunities as Yukon fell 25-16, 27-25, 28-26.

“We kind of fell apart a little bit,” said Yukon captain Kendra Thompson. “We missed, like, five serves in each of the last two sets, so that’s a big withdraw of points.”

To put it in perspective, the Yukon girls dropped a 10-5 lead in the first and failed to capitalize on three set points in the third. They also had a 19-13 lead in the second set, eventually missing a serve to give

PEI set-point and double-hitting to end the set.

“This is a totally different atmosphere for us,” said Yukon setter Amy Palamar. “We’re from a small territory, so we’re not used to this big crowd and these big players. So when it comes to the under-pressure

situation, some of us get really nervous.”

Although nerves appear to be the likely explanation, the Yukon team handled themselves well under pressure, erasing four PEI set points in the second set.

“I think we had great defence tonight,” said Palamar. “Usually on our attacks we have poor coverage but tonight we had really good coverage, we were always on our toes. I thought it was more intense today,

for sure.”

Having come within points of sets in the final two, one might expect frowns or even tears from the Yukon players as they left the court, but there were none. Instead the Yukon crew had almost jubilant

dispositions, clearly pleased with the game they played.

“From our PEI-game, I think we made the statement that we’re here to play,” said Thompson.

Like the Yukon girls’ basketball team last week at the Games, the girls volleyball team had a tough draw and a rough first day, losing 25-16, 25-10, 25-7 against Alberta and 25-12, 25-10, 25-11 to Manitoba on

Monday.

“All of us weren’t really there ready to play,” said Thompson. “It was a bit of a let down. We fumbled the ball, couldn’t pass – we couldn’t even get passes off, so that was a bummer.”

On Wednesday, the girls will get a crack at another lower-caliber team, New Brunswick, followed by their final game, facing Quebec in the afternoon.

The lesson they hope to bring to the court against New Bruswick can be summed up in just a few words: “Stop our unforced errors,” said Thompson.

“One thing that is getting better is that they’re coming together as a team to make better offensive releases,” said Yukon coach Natasha Bilodeau. “They’re doing better with their team-play on the court and the

tighter that gets, the more effectively we can run our own plays.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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