SHORT GAP - Entering Tuesday night's home volleyball match with Moorefield, the Frankfort Lady Falcons were in need of an outstanding performance and win. In a stretch that included a tri-match at Spring Mills, matches with Grafton and Petersburg, and a tri-match at Hampshire, the Falcons had gone a disappointing 1-5 in match play.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - Entering Tuesday night’s home volleyball match with Moorefield, the Frankfort Lady Falcons were in need of an outstanding performance and win. In a stretch that included a tri-match at Spring Mills, matches with Grafton and Petersburg, and a tri-match at Hampshire, the Falcons had gone a disappointing 1-5 in match play.
Then came Moorefield, where initially, things looked as if they were going to play out much like the preceding disappointing stretch. Moorefield quickly came out to a two games to zero lead with game scores of 25-16 and 25-15 respectively.
According to Frankfort coach Brooke Alkire-Higson, “Honestly, just keeping it real, the kids are really struggling with the stands being fairly empty. Even from a coaching standpoint, in here it almost feels weird. So, they really have a hard time getting going.”
Trailing two games to zero and suffering from a slow start, Alkire-Higson knew her team needed some kind of pick me up. The answer, good old-fashioned encouragement of one another. It was just what the doctor ordered.
“After game two I decided we needed to try something different. We literally decided in the huddle that after every single play we were going to encourage another teammate on the floor. Just for whatever reason, good pass, good hit, or just to pick them up if they looked like they needed encouraged. Once they started doing that it was like they started coming to life again. They wanted to keep doing it, it went well,” Alkire-Higson explained.
“It went well” is an understatement. Frankfort would rally to claim victory in game three by a close score of 25-23. Then came another thrilling, close Frankfort victory in game four (25-23) to tie things up and force a deciding fifth game.
In that deciding game five, the Falcons routed Moorefield 15-11 to claim the thrilling, come from behind, three games to two victory.
“Honestly, it’s hard for me to point out a single person because volleyball is such a team sport. Collectively, as a team, I feel like everybody did their part. Everybody stepped up when they were in and did what they needed to do. That doesn’t mean they didn’t make any errors, but it meant that they provided something for the team,” Alkire-Higson stated.
It was a total team effort. Jaden Rapson had eight digs and Nia Smith two aces, 6 kills and 22 digs. Anna Shaffer added five aces and 18 kills, Ann Ford two aces and 17 digs, Jaci Rowe six kills, and Payton Mandell 21 digs. Finally, Jaclyn Yoder added 14 assists, Madison Middleton eight assists, Mercedes Shook nine digs, and Jaci Smith eight digs.
In the tri-match at Spring Mills on Oct. 3, Frankfort went 0-2 against East Hardy and Spring Mills. The Falcons fell two games to zero against East Hardy (15-25, 16-25) and two games to zero to Spring Mills (14-25, 13-25).
Against Grafton on Oct. 6,, Frankfort claimed victory two games to one. The Falcons won game one 25-12, fell in game two, then claimed a close, 25-22 victory in game three to claim the match.
Jaden Rapson contributed four aces, three kills and five digs, Ann Ford added three aces and three assists, and Madison Middleton nine assists. In addition, Jaclyn Yoder had six assists, Nia Smith seven kills and eight digs, Anna Shaffer nine kills, and Jaci Rowe five kills.
On Oct. 8 at Frankfort, the Falcons lost a hard fought, three games to two match to visiting Petersburg. The Falcons won game one 25-19 but fell in game two 21-25. Game three was a Frankfort win (25-20), game four went to Petersburg 25-13. Finally, the Falcons fell to the Vikings 15-9 in the fifth and deciding game.
Jaden Rapson contributed five aces and 17 digs, Nia Smith four aces, five kills and 18 digs, and Anna Shaffer four aces and five kills. In addition, Jaci Rowe added four kills and 19 digs while Madison Middleton added 10 assists.
Finally, in the tri-match with Hampshire and East Hardy on Oct. 10, the Falcons fell two games to zero in both matches. The Falcons fell 13-25 and 21-25 to Hampshire and 14-25 and 15-25 to East Hardy.
Frankfort’s come from behind victory over Moorefield on Tuesday is a sure sign that the Falcons are heading in the right direction, showing improvement as the year progresses.
“When we get ourselves together like we did in games three and four where we are connecting and meshing with one another, we’re at a very good place. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but I’m really pleased with how far they’ve come. When you look at that first Hampshire game, the first game of the season, to where they are now, there’s been a lot of progression and improvement.”