Understandable, since six of the eight players are new to the varsity level.
The Cyclones opened the season Thursday with two three-set matches with all the sets close. In fact, four of those sets were decided by three or less points. Ottawa lost three of those four sets.
“One of our main goals when we get to 20 we have to finish the game,” first-year Ottawa coach Laura Jeannin said. “That is something this team has struggled with. We have to be the first to 25. We have work to do.”
Ottawa split the triangular. Ottawa defeated St. Mary’s, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, and lost to Basehor-Linwood, 20-25, 28-26, 25-22.
The Cyclones had chances to win both second sets and close out the matches.
“It is hard when you go that third game,” Jeannin said. “You don’t know which way it is going to go. We have to learn to finish games.”
Ottawa took charge of the first set against St. Mary’s with a 9-2 spurt to go from a 15-14 lead to 24-16 bulge.
The third set was topsy-turvy. The Bears got off to a 13-5 lead. Ottawa rallied back with a 14-5 run to take a 19-18 lead. Ottawa held on for the victory.
“We made huge improvements from our first match today to our second match,” Jeannin said. “The first game, we did not play up to our level.”
The Basehor match had lots of ups and downs.
“We have to find that consistency,” Jeannin said. “That is how volleyball is teams go on runs ... ups and down. It is finding a way to overcome it. The more points you give away the harder it is to sideout.
“What are we going to do to fix it? We can’t keep doing what we are doing. It is not working.”
Ottawa controlled the first game against Basehor. The Cyclones led 24-21 in the second and let it slip away.
Ottawa regrouped and led 16-10 in the third. Basehor kept charging to take a 21-20 lead.
“We want to be the team that does not make as many errors,” Jeannin said.
“When things get tough, we can’t shut down. When things don’t go our way what are we going to do to fix it. We have to make it different.”
The junior varsity split matches, beating St. Mary’s 25-13, 25-12 and losing to Basehor, 25-15, 25-23. The freshmen split matches against Basehor, winning 25-19, 20-25, 15-9 and losing 25-18, 25-20.
Ottawa (1-1) plays 8 a.m. today at the Frontier League Tournament in De Soto.