Whaler volleyball head coach Andrew Viselli knew his team would come ready to play Saturday against the Holbrook Bulldogs and wasn’t surprised by their 3-1 victory. He said despite losing a five-set thriller to the Sandwich Blue Knights the night before, his team was hungry for another crack at their first win.
“After the match against Sandwich they weren’t sad or feeling down about themselves, they were angry,” Viselli said. “They were mad that they didn’t come out of there with a win. I don’t think we played poorly against Sandwich and I don’t think they think they did either. But we needed to change our mentality and be more aggressive in certain aspects of our game like our serving.”
The Whalers won the first set 25-17, but lost the second set 25-21 to tie the match up 1-1. The Bulldogs passing and ability to limit their errors on returns earned them a second set victory.
But the Whalers bounced back and leaned on their service, which wasn’t up to par according to Viselli in the first game, to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Senior Amelie Roberts had a team-high 10 aces and a 47.6 percent ace percentage.
“We are learning our strengths and identifying areas we can work on but we are seeing those improvements mid-game,” he said. “I still think something we can improve on is generating more opportunities from the service line. I think that is where the right volleyball mentality starts from. If we can bring that fire and aggressiveness from the service line it carries its way into the rest of the game.”
The Whalers won the third set handily 25-14 and the fourth set 25-19 behind a cohesive offensive attack led by setter Bianca Santos, who had another strong game with 19 assists, along with outside hitters Kacey Riseborough (10 kills) and Chloe Marrero (eight kills).
Viselli said his team’s approach to these first two games has been strategic. He said that each player knows that success can’t come unless everyone is on the same page before every point.
“I have been pleasantly surprised with every player trying to have a voice for the collective unit,” Viselli said. “People aren’t afraid to speak their minds and are aware of the fact that they can’t do their job if others aren’t. So they have been very good about communicating with one another to make sure everyone is on the same page and in the appropriate place.”
The Whalers are now 1-1 this season and will look to improve to 2-1 on the season when they travel to take on the Nauset Warriors Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 4 pm.