By Darren Lum
Published Dec. 17 2017
There was a lot to cheer about for the Red Hawks senior girls’ volleyball team after a fourth place finish at the exhibition Kawartha Girls Volleyball League tournament this past Wednesday. Haliburton finished fourth of six teams losing two very close matches to the top two schools splitting one and winning two best-of-two matches.
Team coach Dan Gimon acknowledges the team had the potential to finish higher but still loved what he saw from his entire team.
This tournament result is not a concern for Gimon because at this point in the season it’s about getting his players competitive playing experience in game situations.
He was happy with the team’s performance against the bigger schools such as the eventual tournament winner I. E. Weldon (20-25 and 23-25) and second place Fenelon Falls Falcons (22-25 and 22-25).
Gimon said the team focus is on minimizing mistakes.
“I always tell the girls make them earn the point rather than give them a point. A missed serve is a gimmie for the other team” he said.
Another aspect is to work on passing precision.
Against the third place Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute Spartans the Hawks split their match (25-23 and 19-25).
Although the Hawks finished the tournament strongly by beating the Titans of St. Thomas 2-0 (25-23 and 27-25) Gimon believes his team had challenges with playing an opponent of lower calibre.
“Honestly we should dominate them. Volleyball you’ve probably heard before is a very mental game and even when I played you tend to drop your level to your opponent. Against the AA and AAA teams we raised our games and against the weaker teams we tend to drop our games” he said referring also to the Brock High School win (25-19 and 25-18). “That’s another thing we need to work on is our focus and maintaining our level no matter what team we are playing. But I’m pleased with the way the girls did. We’re getting more experience and getting everybody in … I don’t think fourth is indicative of how we’re going to end up.”
Playing much of his bench was part of the plan this tournament.
They responded with quality execution and demonstrated great skill at the net and overall court play.
Gimon acknowledges the challenge with limited playing time.
“When you don’t play a whole lot and you get on the court you’re nervous and not confident and not sure where you’re supposed to be at times. That’s when I tell the other girls to help them out so they’re getting more experience and they’re going to know where they’re supposed to be” he said.
The team’s only setter Arden Harrop was busy playing every match until the final one against the Titans. Gimon replaced her with Natalya Gimon start against the Titans of St. Thomas.
“[Playing] 10 sets is a lot for her and she tends to get frustrated because I tell the girls to get the pass right to her but she’s hustling. She logs a lot of miles when she’s setting. We gave her a break and put “‘Nattie’ out there” he said referring to Natalya Gimon.
Natalya was a standout with several points in every match either won on her serve or from her jump spike including digging many balls given up by the opponents for points. Also Emma Scheffee was solid and consistent throughout the tournament. Dakota Macdonald had standout tournament scoring important points with her serving efficiency and ability to pass with precision. Other notable play was Ali Paul who excelled in all areas.
He said Harrop has shown great grit determination in games and in practice. Gimon said her work ethic has paid off with her development which included learning how to back set to spread the offense.
Kristie Clements impressed the coach this tournament with her play and development building her confidence.
“She was going after balls and she was hitting. She got some good hits and blocks. You could tell by her face she was pleased by her playing [today]” she said.
Gimon knows his team can improve but understands it’s a process of practice.
He is confident the team will fulfill its potential.
“It will come. It will come. I’m quite confident” he said.