“I’m glad we won,” said Smedley. “We have a young team and we are working on getting that team jelled. It’s slowly coming together. It’s the beginning of the season still. And, hopefully, by the end of the season we will have a lot more of a fluid consistency. That’s what we are looking for.”
What the girls may lack in jelling and consistency, they have an abundance in energy and spirit. After every ace they gather and do a little chant that ends with a “Wooh!” Some bench players skip onto the court when they enter the game. During several timeouts while the Pirates coach had long discussions with a ref, the Freedom players chanted and danced to keep themselves loose.
In game action they dominated the much shorter Pittsburg squad in the first game 25-14 and in the last 25-15. The Pirates put up a battle in the second game, at one point leading 7-3. But good serving, including several aces by Maddie Morrison and Shannon Nuku, got the Falcons back in the game, 11-10. The teams then traded points, tying at 23. An excellent spike by Taylor Vetterli put the Falcons up 24-23, and Jazzi Maliga finished off the Pirates with a nice block at the net.
“Jasmine Malega has definitely stepped up and taken on a great senior role this year and been a leader on the court and as an athlete, getting some much-needed kills for us,” said Smedley. “Michelle Morente is our freshman starting outside hitter – definitely one of the young spots on the team, but once she gets some experience under her belt she’s going to be an outstanding player for us.
“Taylor Vetterli, I think I haven’t seen her full potential yet this year. I think she can be an outstanding for us coming out of the middle. We definitely need to get her some more sets and see what we can do with her, because she’s definitely an athlete to be reckoned with. Tiana Rubin has been outstanding for us in the back row. We wouldn’t be winning the games that we are winning without her back there. So that’s been fantastic as well.”
Freedom’s JV team beat Pittsburg 2-1 (25-8, 25-16). Freedom’s next game is Tuesday, Oct. 6 at Liberty.