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Although the Collins volleyball team has experienced some growing pains this season, the Titans have also made gains.
That was apparent Tuesday night, when host Collins outlasted Anderson County in four sets, 25-18, 25-18, 14-25, 25-16, in a 30th District match.
It was the Titans’ fifth triumph in seven matches since losing their season-opener to Trimble County and now head into Thursday night’s showdown with Shelby County. But it hasn’t been an easy road for Collins, which has had to transition four new starters (some with limited varsity experience) into its lineup this season.
“Being thrown into the varsity, especially at first, I think there was a little bit of shock,” Titans Coach Abbey Buchert said. “But I think they’ve gone from thinking, ‘I’m on the varsity now,’ to ‘We are the varsity now.’
“We’ve put on our big people shoes…I think we definitely have matured.”
Since that 4-set loss to the Raiders, Collins’ only setbacks have been to 22nd-ranked Christian Academy of Louisville and Elizabethtown (9-1 heading into Thursday night).
“I think we started out slow and have just gotten better and better as a team,” said sophomore setter Keri Perdue, one of the first-year starters.
The Titans bettered Anderson County in two matches last season, sweeping the Bearcats, 2-0, in both, but this one – as has been the case often in the early season – wasn’t a walkover.
“We go in knowing every game is a fight, and no game is an easy win,” said sophomore middle blocker, and another first-year starter.
Collins won the first two sets, 25-18, 25-18, before Anderson County battled back to take the third, 25-14.
The Titans responded by reeling off the first seven points of the fourth set as they bolted to a 16-2 lead.
“Our offense has been kind of the thing we have been relying on lately, but tonight it was more our defense and our passing, but for whatever reason we just couldn’t connect with our hitters,” Buchert said.
Buchert praised the defense and serving of senior Adrienne Holtzworth as well as the serving of senior Sarah Eades and freshman Lindsey Fow.
“There were a lot of long rallies and we didn’t give up,” Buchert said. “Our youth has hurt us sometimes, but at E-town [a 3-1 loss Monday night] we really learned to battle for every point.”
That was definitely the case on the 39th point of the fourth set. After Anderson had trimmed its 14-point deficit to 22-16 late, Collins won the longest point of the match on senior Aaliyah Wells’ kill.
“We’re not going to win every point, but we have to learn from our mistakes and grow from them and learn how to make adjustments,” Buchert said.
Collins (5-3) played at North Bullitt on Monday night.