It’s been a long time since the St. Louis Community College volleyball team had performed as well as it did against East Central College in the home match on Wednesday, when the Archers won the second set and took the Falcons to the brink in two others.
“It’s been seven years,” head coach Johnna Kinney said regarding the drought of quality performances against East Central. “I was very, very encouraged. The first three sets, we were there. We tweaked a few technical things, and we were there. We had the heart and the desire, and that’s something that we haven’t had in the past. We can work on technical things, but as a coach, that (effort) is something they either have or they don’t.”
The final score of the four-set match was 22-25, 25-21, 17-25 and 7-25. The final set escaped the Archers as East Central ran up an early 14-0 run and didn’t look back.
East Central head coach Lisa Mathes-Peters, who has seen her Falcons enjoy significant success in previous trips to STLCC, was often flummoxed with Wednesday’s match, calling four timeouts in an attempt to wrest control of the match away from the Archers.
“They’re scrappy like they always are,” Mathes-Peters said of the Archers. “I had a lot of freshmen on the floor, and we just couldn’t get our offense going. They (the Archers) really had a ‘no-die’ attitude on defense, where they do what they have to do to get the ball over.”
Though the result will ultimately show a four-set loss, by winning a set against a perennial regional power in East Central, Kinney and the Archers now have tangible evidence of the progress the program continues to make.
Wednesday’s showing was also a positive way to bounce back from a 15-25, 13-25, 9-25 loss to Greenville College’s junior varsity the day previous.
“We see what we have, and it’s a lot of fun to watch,” Kinney said. “East Central went to nationals, not last year, but the two years previous. We have all these freshmen still learning, and by midseason, we should have it all together.”
The Archers travel to Lincoln, Ill., for the Lincoln College Tournament Sept. 6-7 before returning home for a Sept. 10 match against the Missouri Baptist University junior varsity squad. That match is slated for 6 p.m. at STLCC-Florissant Valley.