Carroll volleyball coach Matt McCarter said his team began the season with a lack of experience, and the lack of rhythm that comes with it.
But his team didn't look that way Tuesday, as the Chargers made quick work of visiting Northrop, winning 25-12, 25-9, 25-19.
“Especially through the first two sets, we showed a lot of focus in staying on task and what our goals are, not letting outside factors influence the way that we want to play,” McCarter said.
The Chargers (11-3) sailed through the first two sets, regularly winning four or five points in a row. Gabby Fish, the team leader in kills, tallied 11 more, revving up her teammates and the crowd with well-placed daggers.
“We played, definitely as a team, better than we have before,” Drezden Ginder said. “I think we showed a lot of commitment to each other and commitment to our goals.”
Taya Haffner had five aces and also led the team with 26 assists. However, several times throughout the match she appeared to settle under the ball to set up a teammate, but instead made a last-second move to toss the ball over the net, faking out the Bruins (6-5).
“That's something I do when we're in kind of a rut, need something to get out of it,” she said. “That's something I throw in there when I know it's open on the other side, score a quick point and keep moving on. We do practice it in practice, different shots to hit, different areas on the court.”
The Chargers went on a particularly dominant roll late in the second set, winning six straight points (most of them with Haffner serving) to take a 23-7 lead.
“Our second set was a moment of team chemistry for us,” Ginder said. “That marks a good night for us.”
The Bruins showed more fight in the third set, keeping the score tied as 10-10 and then pulling back within four at 22-18.
“They started to find some holes in our defense, they got a little more crafty with where they were placing the shots and were able to score some points that way,” McCarter said of the third set. “We made some mental errors, we made some service errors. So the combination of them actually making some really nice adjustments, us maybe losing focus a little bit. But we were able to step up halfway through and make our own changes.”
Madison Brooks led Northrop with 12 kills, Katie Smith had 19 assists and Claire Foord had eight digs.
“Coming into the third set, it's really hard to keep your energy and keep focus, and so we were really just trying to stay positive and stay up on the ball and just win the game,” Fish said of that key third set.
The Chargers will need to remain dialed-in as they face Bishop Dwenger, the No. 3 team in Class 3A, on Thursday.