The Ottawa High School volleyball team displayed winning traits in its season opener Tuesday in the OHS gym.
The Cyclones came up short falling to Spring Hill, 3-1 (25-13, 23-25, 25-12, 25-16) in a best-of-five dual.
"We wanted to see exactly what happened," Ottawa coach Laura Jeannin said. ‘We would have loved to taken a couple more sets from them. We wanted to compete. When you compete, you give yourself a chance to win and finish. That is what we did in the second set. That is a tough team to start with. We have a good starting point."
The Cyclones sport an experienced team with nine players being juniors or seniors. Jeannin liked how the team meshed together.
"The big common theme was playing as a team," she said. ‘We know any team we play, we are going to have to play as a team. Volleyball is a game of responding. Being positive and teamwork is a huge theme for us this year."
Ottawa gave up runs to a strong hitting Spring Hill team.
"Our game is to play smarter and quicker than other teams," Jeannin said. "We don’t always have a size advantage, so we have to find ways to be able to compete with size. Our schedule all year is going to be hard. We can’t become complacent. We can’t let teams block us."
Jeannin called the season "a process," working under COVID guidelines.
"We are working really hard to do everything we can to make sure we do play," she said. "Through the summer, we wanted to get to the season. It was more of a process. The process should lead us to the results we want. Tonight was a great example of what we have been doing. We have things we can get better at. We have great positives to feed off and build off of. That makes them believe in themselves and their teammates."
Defense could become a big strength of the Cyclones.
"Defense is huge for us because when we defensively transition, we can transition into a kill," Jeannin said. "Defense will be our focus. We are going to keep our offense moving, moving our hitters and changing up shots to keep the other team on their toes."
Before the match, Ottawa honored four seniors in Senior Night ceremonies. Ava Caylor, Tess Reed-Cox, Molly Olmsted and Darby Weidl were introduced to the fans.
"We wanted to make sure we honored our seniors," Jeannin said. "The seniors have put in four great years. We love our seniors and we wanted to honor them."
Ottawa (0-1) plays Thursday at West Franklin.