Women’s volleyball looks to shake old habits, advance to third round of playoff

Sophomore middle hitter Nicole Hareland goes for a kill during the first round playoff match against Hartnell College.

The American River College Women’s Volleyball team is set to host round two of the 2013 California Community College Athletic Association’s Northern California regional playoff. The team defeated Hartnell College on Nov. 26 to advance to the second round.

The Beavers are looking to take advantage of their momentum, riding a 20-game win streak in pursuit of a state championship.

“They’re very focused, the most focused I’ve ever really seen them,” said assistant coach Cassie Loessberg. “Their first goal was to get conference championship and they did it, so the (next) goal is to get state. I think they’re taking every game seriously and coming into the gym with a business mentality, saying ‘we’re going to take this team, we’re going to focus and we’re going to get it done so we can reach our goal.”

While the team remains acutely focused on the prospect of a state championship, its players and coaching staff alike have revered the raising of their 2013-14 Big 8 Conference championship banner, which is the first in the program’s history.

“It’s awesome,” said sophomore setter Jessica Condit. “Knowing you’re the best in your conference, you’re always on a high, just look up there and you know.”

Loessberg echoed similar sentiment and attributed a great deal of this season’s success to head coach Ashlie Frame’s work building the program in previous years.

“I wish they played triumphant music as it was raised,” she joked. “It’s so cool to see Ashlie build such an awesome program from the ground up. She’s done everything the absolutely could…that banner is well deserved on both the coaching end and the (players) end.”

As the Beavers advance and play more competitive teams, they are looking to do away with some of their poor habits, such as losing focus and intensity during matches, and playing to the level of their competition.

“We still have a lot to work on, but the way we started (round one), we need to keep that up the whole entire time,” said Condit “We can’t attack the first game and then just let it be easy (for the opponent).”

Despite the persistence of such habits, the Frame does not believe they will cost them their opportunity to win a state championship.

“That’s typical of us this year,” Frame said of her team. “We have a great first match and then we do stupid things the second. We do it against every team. It doesn’t surprise me (or) make me angry anymore, it’s just a characteristic (of our team)– a little lack of discipline and focus. I think anytime you win easily the first match, it’s hard to be as intense the second match.”

The Beavers will host the second round of the playoffs at 7 p.m. Nov. 30. With a win, the team would advance to the third round and host their final home game of the season with an opportunity to advance to state.

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