Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Swede volleyball team till working on mental discipline

Gothenburg falls to NPSP in four.

A loss is always hard to swallow regardless of how well a team plays or who the opponent happens to be.

Just because North Platte St. Pat’s is rated at No. 3 in Class C-2 by the Omaha World-Herald and just because the Irish have only one loss on the year does not mean Gothenburg volleyball coach Mary Clark expected her team to fold.

“I truly believed we could beat them,” Clark said of the Sept. 15 matchup.

And the Swedes did defeat the Irish in one set but lost the match in four 25-19, 16-25, 25-22, 25-19.

“I am really proud of the girls,” Clark said. “They played with a lot of heart and a lot of determination.”

From the opening serve, Gothenburg played scrappy defense to pick up much of what St. Pat’s hit.

“We had some really good rallies,” Clark said. “We proved we could play with them.”

In the second set, Gothenburg jumped on the Irish early by knocking them out of their rhythm.

“We’re trying to make the girls play very specific roles on the floor,” Clark said. “They know their roles and they’re willing to step in and do what we ask.”

Senior middle hitter Emily Max serves as the go-to girl at the net.

“We’re trying to use all of Emily’s talents,” Clark said. “We like to mix it up with her, using some quick sets to catch the other side off-guard.”

For much of the game, that strategy worked. Max finished with nine service points from her jump serve, was 32-of-34 hitting with 14 kills and even picked up 11 digs in the back row.

Ali Clark led the Swedes in scoring with 14 service points. As libero, she was also 13-for-13 on serve receive and picked up 18 digs.

Playing rated teams such as St. Pat’s is good for the Swedes, Clark said.

“Playing better teams helps us play to a higher level,” she said. “What we need to do now is keep working on our mental discipline, staying focused for every play.”

Gothenburg, 4-3 on the season, will travel to the Hershey quadrangular on Saturday.

The Swedes play Bridgeport in the first round at 11 a.m. and will face Hershey and Ainsworth in the round-robin tournament.

Another triangular was added to the schedule after calendars were printed.

The Swedes will travel to Grant on Tuesday to face Chase County and Perkins County. The first game is at 5 p.m.