Kathy Hrabanek, head coach of the Colome Cowgirls, coaches in her team’s game against Tripp/Delmont-Armour on Saturday, Sept. 14. The Cowgirls would go on to lose in five sets.
By Colton Hall
Kathy Hrabanek, the head coach of the Colome Cowgirls volleyball team was a little emotional following her team’s loss to Tripp/Delmont-Armour on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Considering her team’s near comeback win, she had a right to be.
The Colome Cowgirls have been in multiple positions to win match-ups, but have found trouble finishing. It’s the typical up and down roller-coaster if you will.
One set the Cowgirls will be on fire, the next they’re at a low.
It’s not like all the teams beating the Cowgirls are immensely more talented. It’s the fact that a young and somewhat inexperienced team is trying to learn how to do something that it hasn’t done much of in the past. Win.
More often than not, it’s the Cowgirls themselves who lose the game, not the other team winning it.
“We shoot ourselves in the foot,” Kathy Hrabanek said. “We tend to play just good enough to play, and not good enough to win. Our girls know that we should be winning these matches.”
Early in the season, Hrabanek noticed that her team couldn’t win the tough matches when things got tough.
“We have a tough time winning the ‘dogfights’,” Hrabanek said. “We go into a game, and we start slow because we don’t know if you can play with a team rather than trying to take it to them.”
Mental mistakes seemed to plague Colome early. The Cowgirls held a lead multiple times throughout all sets, and let Tripp/Delmont-Armour back into the game.
Colome made mental errors that led to a 25-18 loss in the first set, but the Cowgirls did what they’ve done all season. Fight.
After answering with a 25-16 win in the second set, Colome battled in the third but fell 25-23. That’s when the pressure was mounting.
It seemed as though the Cowgirls were going to “throw in the towel,” as they’ve tend to do in the past. Not these Cowgirls.
At the beginning of the season, Hrabanek sat down with her team and knew that something had to change.
In the past, the Cowgirls haven’t built a dynasty, but Hrabanek is trying to change that.
“My girls tend to be complacent,” Hrabanek said. “I told them at the beginning of the season that it’s a mindset change. You have to look on the other side of the net against the opposing team and say ‘bring it’. If you want to win games, you have to be able to say that.”
So, when the Cowgirls came away with a win in the fourth set, they showed that they’ve listened to Hrabranek, who is in her sixth year as a coach of the Cowgirls.
These Cowgirls have started to win the dogfights. No, they may not have won the match, but they taking the right steps toward getting to that point.
“We’re doing some really good things,” Hrabanek said. “We’re improving on everything else. We’re passing, hitting, and blocking the ball very well. We’re doing everything that we set out to do before the year started, it’s just the little things that are costing us sets.”
The “little things” such as unforced errors proved to be a point of weakness for the Cowgirls against Tripp/Delmont-Armour.
Colome gave up many points because of unforced errors including three of the last five points in the fifth set for Tripp/Delmont-Armour.
Part of coaching an improving team is being able to make important schematic changes when your team isn’t answering the bell. Hrabanek saw that her team needed to take advantage of Tripp/Delmont-Armours hitters.
The Cowgirls head coach moved her team from a 6-2 defense to a 5-1 defense that put more players in the back court to get the ball up and take advantage of the Cowgirls outside hitters like Haley Krumpus who played a solid game.
Krumpus finished with eight kills, and 17 digs while Baylie Hoffine lead the Cowgirls with 18 digs.
“We went from a 6-2 to a 5-1 in the second set. Tripp/Delmont Armour is a good hitting team, but they’re not a great hitting team. With that, I felt that our blockers could do a better job in a 5-1.”
The schematic change proved to work even though it was something new for Colome.
“We don’t run a lot of receive with a 5-1, and I knew that we had a young Libero in the back. I figured that I needed that support to help her out a bit. They all handled it very well.”
The Cowgirls may not have won the game, but they’re done being complacent. They’re done giving in. They may not be winning all their matches, but they’re winning the ‘dogfights”.