Versatility is big in any team sport. The West Franklin High School volleyball players proved they can play multiple positions and roles.
Coach Angie Corwine has yet to have her full arsenal available, but she has found another strength of her team. That versatility is paying dividends right now.
“Our outside hitter is playing libero and a freshman is playing the outside,” Corwine said Tuesday following a home sweep of Osage City. “I can put them anywhere and they will do what I ask them to do. They play a lot in the offseason. It is nice, they can go with the flow. I can put a lot of people in different places on any given night.”
The Falcons (4-0) were the aggressors, which turned the tide in the sweep (25-19, 25-20 and 25-23, 25-18).
Corwine said they struggled with serve-receive and attacking in the first match. The Falcons serve-receive average was 1.65, and the hitting efficiency was .000 with 16 kills and 16 errors.
“The only reason we won that match was because of our serving and our middle hitters,” Corwine said.
West Franklin served 92 percent with 11 aces. Jenna Walters served five of the 11 aces. Brooke Flory and Alex Coopman had solid hitting numbers with a .308 percentage.
“We have so many options upfront,” Corwine said. “If somebody is struggling, we can go to somebody else. Both of our middles did a really good job. We have people in some different spots because of illness. We are trying to figure each other out. Overall, I was impressed.”
Corwine saw improvement in the attack and serve-receive in the second match. They hit .209 with 31 kills and 13 errors.
“Our setter does a good job of finding the hot hitter and moving their defense,” Corwine said. “There were times that we had no blockers in front of us because she kept moving the ball around.”
Walters paced the attack with 10 kills in the second match. Flory finished with 14 kills in the two matches. Coopman had 10 kills.
Ainsley Corwine had 39 assists and four kills. Kaelin Bones led the team with 16 digs. Zentz and Sami Randall had a serve-receive percentage of 2.3.
The Falcons improved their serve-receive to 1.97 in the nightcap, but it was not at the level Corwine wants to see. The coach said the court movement kept improving.
“I saw some improvements on defense in how we were moving and reading the ball,” she said. “Last week, we hit a lot of free balls. This week, we had somebody hitting the ball at us, moving the ball around.”
Osage City’s defense gave the Falcons fits throughout the night.
“Osage City did a nice job of defending us,” Corwine said. “We had some big hits. They kept getting it up and hitting it right back at us. Our hitters need to work on not constantly hitting it to the middle of the court.”
The Falcons came out the gate slow in the first set of the second match, falling behind 5-0.
“We have to learn not to dig ourselves a hole like we did in the first set of the second match,” Corwine said. “We are too good for that. Get them stopped after two (points) is what needs to happen. We were making our own mistakes. Our hitters were hitting the ball into the net. We have to take care of business earlier.”
Corwine said the Falcons need to make adjustments in their serving.
“We are trying to serve tough and find spots,” she said. “We need to do a better job focusing on where we are going with the ball and finishing. Choosing our moments — when the game is tight — it is not the time to rip a serve, it is find a spot and get it in. We need to be choosier on where we spot the ball.”
West Franklin plays Tuesday at Mission Valley.