CONCORDIA, Kansas — With its size and athleticism, and an undefeated record a month into the season, the No. 11 ranked Seward County Community College volleyball team can be intimidating.
It was a mental wall the Cloud County Community College volleyball team struggled with Monday evening when it hosted the Saints inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium, falling in straight sets: 25-13, 25-18 and 25-15.
"I think we allowed their (Saints) 10-0 record coming in to intimidate us and our record to define us," said Cloud County head coach, Molly Skocny. "What this group has to realize is they are creating their own destiny here with this year's squad. They have to be willing to put it all out there and resist the fear of failure. We didn't do that (Monday). We weren't mentally tough and we played timid and scared at times."
Cloud County (3-9 overall, 0-3 KJCCC) played tight with Seward County (11-0 overall, 3-0 KJCCC) early in the first set, taking a 3-2 lead courtesy of a Saints attack error. Seward responded with a 7-1 run to halt the T-Birds early momentum and force a timeout.
The inability to string points together plagued the T-Birds much of the night, limiting their opportunities to operate within their 5-1 offense in their desired rotation.
"One of the things we talk about is scoring in twos and threes and that was one of the things we did not do well (Monday)," Skocny said. "We'd force the side out and turn around and give it right back. That's definitely something we need to improve on, link a few more points together so we don't move through our players so quick."
Cloud County played its best set of the night in Set Two, rebounding from a tough start to the set that saw the T-Birds fall behind 6-1. They stayed within the five-point window as late as 20-15 following an ace by sophomore defensive specialist, Brooke Baird.
Unfortunately, Cloud was unable to inch any closer as Seward County held on to take the second set, 25-18.
"Once the girls decided they were going to compete, then we showed we could hang with (Seward County)," Skocny said. "We showed that in the second set where we were moving the ball better and keeping things in play."
The Saints jumped out to a 6-0 lead in Set Three, leading wire-to-wire to win the set 25-15 and complete the sweep.
Fundaro would add a team-high five digs, as well.
Cloud County will look to bounce back at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday when it continues its mini two-match home stand against Barton Community College.