Owls make turnaround with new attitude N. Carroll gets message

Westminster goes to 9-3

October 22, 1997|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Katie Righter, a 6-foot-2 senior, and one of the cogs in Westminster's improving volleyball machine, called it "our go-get-em mentality."

This attitude was definitely one of the reasons the streaking Owls won their seventh straight match, and ran their record to 9-3 with a victory at North Carroll last night. The 15-11, 15-11, 9-15, 15-6 outcome ended a five-match string for the home team (9-3).

It was dramatically different from the first meeting a month ago when North Carroll won three straight games.

"Last time, we were nonchalant about it, not knowing what to expect," Righter said. "This time, we upped our intensity."

Coach Michele Crouse pointed out that in the previous meeting, her setter was called for 10 violations, a situation that had not happened before or since. "We couldn't develop an offense."

Since then, in the seven victories, the Owls have lost only four games, no more than one in any match.

With Els Houbregs, an exchange student from Belgium, getting points off her serve, and Shannon Langmead setting for Righter and the other hitters, Westminster controlled the action for much of the time.

Senior setter Jen Geiman and junior hitter Kate Wall were the leaders for North Carroll, but overall, the team could not sustain the level it had shown in other matches. "We're looking to be more consistent. Even in our wins, our play has been up-and-down, Panthers coach Lloyd Ford said.

Of winning only two of the team's first five matches, Righter said, "We came out in the first game against TJ [Thomas Johnson] and played great, losing in five games. From those early matches, we realized if we wanted respect as a winning team, we had to do something about it."

The turnaround came against Liberty when the Lions were unbeaten in five matches. Westminster lost the first game, then won, 16-14, 16-14, 15-2. "We wanted to show people that Liberty and North Carroll aren't the only teams," Righter said.

"It has been a team thing. [Sophomore] Courtney Johnson began inside, but has been moved to outside hitter, and Robyn Hoffman has stepped into the back row and played well."

Of Houbregs, Crouse said, "The most difficult thing for her as far as her volleyball has been concerned is changing positions. She was a hitter at home, but we have made her a setter."

Pub Date: 10/22/97

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