The scoreline read much like one would expect – 25-7, 25-8, 25-15 in favor of the home side. But that didn’t deter Wawasee head coach Jeff Phillips to drive home a message he made during the summer.
“They big key for us is giving up free points to their bigger girls,” began Phillips. “If we don’t give up those easy points to Haley Brown, Sierra (Smith), it forces their team to work harder.
“We have to allow bigger teams the chance to make mistakes, we can’t make the mistakes for them. We know teams like Fairfield have big kids that we can’t defend. We don’t have to play perfect, they are going to get their kills. Haley Brown is going to get blocks and hit it around us.
“But that doesn’t mean we can give away opportunities with things we can control, like serving the ball out of bounds or making bad passes.”
His realistic mantra followed him to the bus, where he offered a very poignant but telling nugget about where his team is – the Thursday scoreboard – and where his team wants to be, like Fairfield.
“Our team shirts have the word ‘relentless pursuit’ on them, but you can put a sticker on there which says ‘almost, kinda and sometimes’ over the relentless,” Phillips said boarding the team bus following the match.
While his comment wasn’t made as a negative connotation toward his team following a tough loss, it did send the message that he expected more against a team in Fairfield that Wawasee could have to worry about in October.
Fairfield’s twin towers in juniors Brown and Smith had their way at the net all evening. Smith used her power to smash home nearly a dozen kills while Brown used both power and smarts to tuck home another eight kills.
The Lady Falcons (2-0) were only threatened once the entire night, when Wawasee tied the score at 6-6 in the third game. Fairfield would answer by scoring nine of the next 10 points and never looked back.
“They passed way better than they normally do, it has improved a lot,” Fairfield head coach Carla Herschberger said of Wawasee. “I don’t think we were really expecting that. I don’t think the scores really reflected that. Those first two games, we just were not sharp. The other night against Fremont, we were so sharp, tonight we just were not. But we were able to win by wide margins. The next time we play them, we should be ready for a more competitive match.”
Stats were slim for the Lady Warriors (0-2), with Anne Beer drawing 11 digs and four kills while Aly Anderson added nine digs and Alli Ousley eight assists. Lydia Katsaropoulos led Wawasee with five kills, but came up limping in the third game after diving for a ball.
The Fairfield JV wasted no time taking it to Wawasee, jumping out to a 13-2 lead in the first game and not slowing down in a 25-6, 25-5 win.
Olivia Huffman led the Lady Warriors (1-1) with six digs, four assists and an ace.