Cougar volleyball fighting for a playoff spot

The Chatham volleyball team have won 8 of 10 games so far this season Image by: Chatham Athletics


by: Derek Schrank

The Chatham volleyball team is entering their final stretch of the season. They are coming in hot, winning 8 of their last 10 games. Momentum seems to be in Chatham’s favor, but they still sit just outside a spot in the playoffs.
“We’re gonna keep our fingers crossed. I think we go off teammates’ momentum which is what keeps bringing us up. I’m hoping it comes back tonight (against Thiel) and stays through Saturday,” Mckenzie Bates ’20 said.
The Cougars faceed off against Thiel October 26th, and they hosted Saint Vincent on the 28th for their final game of the season, also their senior night. While the night will be mapped out differently, lengthening the game due to senior ceremonies, the game plan for the Cougars remains untouched.
“The game plan from here on out is to win. Which is what it was before, we just need to execute,” Bates said.
The Cougars have faced off against Thiel one other time this season and saw a victory of 3 sets to 2. The Cougars hope their prior knowledge on Thiel will work in their favor as they look to take another win.
“The last time we played Thiel we went to five sets. We started really well, then making a few mistakes that cost us the second and third sets, then coming back to finish,” Bates said. She hopes the energy comes in as a factor as well, “I think as long as we stay pumped up and carry out the way we know how to play, we’ll be fine. Our blocking was also on point that game so hopefully that comes back into this game too.”
Thiel is Chatham’s first step towards claiming a playoff spot, and they need to come up big if they want to have a chance. “We’re in seventh place as of right now, we have to win the next two games,” Bates said.
They Cougars have had a heavy offense all year, as they have six players with more than 100 kills. Justyne Lasher leads the team with 337 kills, she averages more than three kills per set. They also see two players with more than 100 assists, where Mckenzie Bates has set up her teammates an astounding 547 times.
“Our offense and defense has been pretty even, which is why we’ve been winning,” Bates said. But it’s defense that they’re focused on tuning up. “In practice we mainly work on defense, just because I think that’s the one think everyone needs to focus on. Without a good pass, you can’t put a ball down.”