Jonathan Alder volleyball coach Taryn Fuller was watching her team a little closer than normal during a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference (MOAC) home tilt with Buckeye Valley on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
The Pioneers (4-3, 2-1) were coming off a disappointing loss to Galion last week and the coach was interested in seeing how her team would respond.
Her resilient bunch was sharp and active and easily won their match-up with the visiting Barons 25-19, 25-19, 2517, putting a smile on the coach’s face.
“I thought we played as a team,” Fuller said. “We played with intensity and got the job done.”
Those are traits that the talented Pioneers haven’t always shown this young season.
“We’re growing, we’re learning with every match,” she said. “We built on what we learned from last week and the week before. We put it into action tonight and got a good league win.”
Alder raced out to a fast start in the first game thanks to the service skills of Taylor Izzard. The sophomore turned a 8-5 Pioneers lead into a 13-5. The home team’s lead continued to grow to 21-13, before finally closing out the game 25-19.
The coach routinely encouraged to get her team to play faster against the bigger bunch from Buckeye Valley, once they did so points came just as quickly.
“We live and die on a fast offense,” Fuller said. “We look to push the ball and be quick, quick, quick. We’re a really fast team and when we use that to our advantage we should overpower teams.”
While it had a size advantage at the net, Buckeye Valley was far from dominant up there. In fact the smaller Pioneers played well above the net on offense and on defense.
“We got ups,” Fuller said referring to her team’s jumping ability. “We jump, we have a real big presence at the net, it’s fun to watch.”
Alder, which returns nearly every member of a team that advanced all the way to a D-II regional semifinal last year, is trying to adjust to a new coach and a new system. Fuller said that adjustment is coming along nicely and getting league wins are key.
“I think our defense keeps us going,” the coach said. “They are the ones that have been pretty steady and I know that we can count on them. League games are really important. We set a goal to win the MOAC so every league win is big.
“They were really upset last week, but it was a stepping stone for us. I think we’re coming along. We did what we didn’t do so well last week and built upon it.”
Chris Miles can be reached at 740-852-1616 ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.