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Volleyball: Berne Union can't maintain intensity against West Jefferson


1:00 AM, Sep. 26, 2012 EDT

Berne Union's Jessica Grubb dives for the ball during a Mid-State League-Cardinal Division match Tuesday against West Jefferson. / Jess Lanning/Eagle-Gazette

SUGAR GROVE -- It was more of the same for Berne Union volleyball's team Tuesday.

After winning the first set and building a 20-17 lead in the second, the Rockets were unable to put their opponent away.

Host Berne Union lost its Mid-State League-Cardinal Division match with West Jefferson 20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-16.

After winning the first set, one in which they lead for all but four points, the Rockets could not keep their focus.

"The second (set), we had them. We've had problems all year in the second (set)," Berne Union coach Mike Miller said. "We'll win the first one, and then in the second (set), we'll just let down. We have to keep our intensity level our entire second (set)."

This time, the turning point came late in the second set. After building that 3-point lead, the Rockets (3-10, 1-7) surrendered four consecutive points, allowing the Roughriders (6-6, 5-3) to take a 21-20 lead. It was the first time Berne Union trailed in the game. Although they tied the score at 21, the Rockets couldn't stop West Jefferson in the end.

The Roughriders' comeback set the tone for the next two sets.

"We don't have that killer instinct. We want to play with that killer instinct all the time," Miler said. "We've got to play through mistakes. Our intensity level just sometimes goes down, and that's what hurts us. Generally, it's in the second game."

Mistakes continued. The third set began with poor communication and fouls by Berne Union, which allowed West Jefferson to open an 11-4 lead. Although the Rockets got within two points late, they never led.

Captain Jessica Grubb said at some point the team simply accepted defeat.

"I think people started to think that we were going to lose, and it just went down hill from there," she said.

The teams were tied at 15 in the fourth, but West Jefferson closed on a 10-1 run.

Roughriders coach Kristen Hershberger said with two young teams facing off, the match was unpredictable.

"It's trying to find someone with a little fire," she said. "Just trying to get someone to own up to that leadership and take control of the team."

Miller thinks he has that in Grubb, he said, and his team is improving.

"Jess is the heart and soul of our team. If she can get to it, she is going to get to it," he said. "They feed off that. The kids are working hard. They're doing everything they can. I'm proud of them."

 

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