By Bob Fenske
Of the Reporter
Nashua-Plainfield volleyball coach Amber McCall knew her team faced a monumental challenge in its season-opening match Tuesday night.
She wasn’t wrong, and while the results were a bit predictable — Class 3A New Hampton rolled to a 25-10, 25-12, 25-10 victory — McCall took them in stride.
“We found a lot of things we need to work on, but I liked our fight, I liked how hard we played,” she said after her team’s home match. “The good news is we’re not going to see a New Hampton every night. They’re good. We knew that coming in so it wasn’t a shock.”
The Chickasaws, who return four starters from a team that advanced to the regional final a year ago, took control of the match early as they raced out to an 11-2 lead on their way to an easy first-set win.
“We struggled at times to get into our offense,” McCall said, “and some of that was New Hampton but some of it was we’re young and we got a little overwhelmed. We needed to relax because I think you saw some good things there but we just couldn’t get a run going.”
Those good things included three solid kills from Libby Fisher, a beautiful dig from Bailey Weiss and a timely tip from setter Abbi Hauser.
As well as New Hampton played, though, the Huskies at times were their own worst enemy.
Nashua-Plainfield had nine service errors, a fact McCall lamented at the end of the night.
“That’s nine free points, and that’s way too many,” she said, “but we’ll get better, trust me on that. The nice thing is you only play one first match of the year. We’ll settle down.”
The third set started more promisingly for the Huskies and a Hauser tip pulled Nashua-Plainfield to within 4-3, but New Hampton went on an 11-2 run that all but put the set and the match away.
“They’re down, and my job tomorrow is to build them back up,” said McCall, whose team plays host to Rockford on Thursday. “Our young kids just need experience, and when they settle down, I’m excited for this team.”