Beachwood’s volleyball team extended its winning streak to four games with a 3-1 win over Richmond Heights on Tuesday, but the Bison continue to struggle with a loss of focus at some point in the match.
After easily winning the first two sets, 25-7 and 25-15, the Bison dropped the third, 21-25, then held off the Spartans in the fourth, 27-25.
“We started off strong,” said Beachwood first-year coach Sarah Schoenhagen. “Again, it was the same thing. They played hard but they’re energy dropped again.”
The Bison, who improved to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division, won just seven games in the last two seasons combined.
Schoenhagen is pleased with her team’s early success, but she knows the Bison have so much more potential.
“We’re not happy with that win,” she said. “It’s a win, I’d rather take a win, but it’s a win we’re not happy with at all. When you beat a team 25-7 and 25-15 and you let them take one and the fourth one, we almost lost that one, they have to be able to close out those games.”
Shaneice James led the Bison with 12 digs and she also contributed with eight kills and two blocks. Valisha Watkins posted a team-high 16 kills and six digs and Jaelyn Pounds led the team with 15 assists.
With focus and energy the Bison cruised to wins in the first two sets.
The Spartans rallied from behind in the third set to force a fourth game and nearly stretched the match to a decisive fifth set.
“We barely came out with that one,” Schoenhagen said. “We shouldn’t have been in that position. We were up about seven points and Richmond Heights got two or three and our girls did the same thing they always do; suddenly it was the end of the world. We were still up but they don’t know how to make a couple of mistakes and shake it off and move on. They completely shut down. That’s something we’ve got to work on. It’s very mental for them right now.”
The Bison have a big test on Thursday.
They travel to Independence for a showdown of the league’s top two teams. The Blue Devils are currently 9-0 and ranked No. 8 in the latest state coaches’ poll.
“We’ll see what team will show up for that on Thursday,” Schoenhagen said. “If that energetic team shows up we can give them a run for their money. We’re the underdogs but if they come out and play their hearts out we have nothing to lose. If we play our hearts out we can give them a run for their money. If we start doubting ourselves and get down on ourselves and not communicate with each other it’s going to be a quick game for Independence.”