The Gainesville volleyball team has established a protective instinct for one another.
Following a five-set loss at Ponte Vedra two weeks ago, GHS has won 15 sets in a row, including a 25-17, 25-13, 25-17 sweep of visiting Vanguard (Ocala) on Tuesday night at The Purple Palace.
The loss seems to have lit a fire that they needed, to develop their grit a little bit more, according to Gainesville coach Chancie Vice.
“It definitely lit a fire on our weak points and the things that we needed to work on, but I think it was a little of grit for us,” Vice said.
They also have a new word.
“We have a word, the girls developed a word this year, it’s called furgency, and it’s a mix between fun and urgency so I think that the girls did really well in that aspect tonight,” Vice said.
Mercer commit Meme Davis had a kill to start the first set, which seemed to set the tone early for the Hurricanes (10-4).
After Vanguard got a block from sophomore Anna Harrelson to bring the Knights (4-8) within one at 3-2, Davis delivered another kill to ensure the game wouldn’t be tied.
“Meme’s been a key player for us her entire four years here at GHS,” Vice said. “She’s very steady and consistent and a typical contributor for us. She’s the most athletic athlete in our area both male and female. She has phenomenal IQ for the sport that she plays and she is beastly athletic…her college got a good one.”
Davis had four kills in the opening set and finished with a double-double (11 kills and 11 digs).
“I feel I played good today,” Davis said. “The sets were good. A shout out to Chloe (Petrik), she did really well. She’s been focusing more and more every game to get us better and set us up right.”
The Hurricanes got a couple of aces and a kill from Petrik in the opening set. The junior setter led the team with 16 digs and 32 assists.
“We’ve got a really good previous Big 10 head coach on staff this year (former Iowa coach Vicki Brown) whose been able to break down her setting with her and really work on her IQ and decision making and she’s starting to shine through. Hopefully, she starts getting heavily recruited after this year,” Vice said.
Meanwhile, USC commit Brooklyn Tealer started the second set the way she ended the first, with a kill.
She had three kills and an ace in the second set as the Hurricanes never trailed in the first two sets and led 2-0.
Vanguard jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the third set following back-to-back aces by junior Sachi Patel.
But the Hurricanes didn’t panic.
Vice called timeout and told her team “that we need to focus on the fundamentals.”
“Our passing started to break down and I called that timeout to reconnect and assess the fundamentals and breaking that down for them, and just kind of reconnect with them as well,” she said.
They used their furgency to battle back and tie the match.
Tealer connected on a kill to make it 7-4, and followed by a Vanguard attack error, the senior added another kill followed by an ace to bring it back to 7-7.
Although Vanguard reclaimed the lead at 10-7, the Hurricanes got a kill from Davis later to tie the third set at 11-11.
The ‘Canes never trailed again.
“There were some good things, and definitely some things that we still need to work on, but overall I’m impressed that every day, every game, we’re getting better, we’re moving up,” Vice said.
They’re getting better because of the new mindset that they’ve developed.
“We had a lot of hustle plays (tonight) and behind the word furgency, what that means to the girls besides having fun and playing urgent is a protective instinct,” Vice said. “So, say we missed a block, the passers then kind of internalize and take that personal to where ‘I’m going to make sure I get this dig for you.’ Or we get a block, the blockers take that internally as if I am protecting my defense.”
Tealer (12 digs) had a team-leading 16 kills for the Hurricanes, including a .600 hitting percentage.
Sophomore Addy Hauptman added 13 digs.
GHS will host The Rock at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.