The learning process continues.
Borgia’s volleyball Knights, in their third season of competition, dropped two matches this week.
On Wednesday, Borgia (0-3) lost at Duchesne, 25-20. 25-10.
“We’re a long way from where we want to be playing,” Borgia Head Coach John Nieder said. “We knew coming into Duchesne that they were a good, established, solid program. We knew they were a .500-plus team which would give us a good fight.”
The Knights fell in three games Tuesday to Rockwood Summit’s junior varsity team, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21.
The Knights return to action next Thursday, visiting Seckman. That match is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
Nieder is still trying to build the program. The Knights have just nine players on the roster this season, which means that Borgia fields a varsity team only.
“Tonight was the third lineup we’ve used,” Nieder said about the Duchesne match. “The kids are playing hard. They really are giving it a lot. I think we have a lot of potential before the year is over.”
Still in search of its first win, the Knights visited Archdiocesan Athletic Association foe Duchesne Wednesday afternoon.
After going to three games against Rockwood Summit’s JV squad the day before, and only losing by four points in the third game, Borgia came out with confidence.
After going ahead on a service error, the Knights made it 2-0.
But that’s where the momentum stopped.
Duchesne ripped off seven points in a row before senior Alex Blechle dumped the ball into an opening to stop the run.
“They had a little more firepower than I imagined they would,” Nieder said. “That gave us trouble starting the first match. We weren’t ready to block them like we were hoping.”
Borgia’s highlights early in the match were few and separated though.
Plagued by unforced errors and Duchesne plays, Borgia fell behind 17-7 before the Knights started to find themselves.
Junior Korey Fumagalli recorded an ace to bring the Knights back to within 10 points.
The Knights chopped bits and pieces off the lead. Sophomore Jacob Maune put down a tip to make it 19-13. The Pioneers got the next point, but hit a roadblock.
Borgia got to 20-16 on an ace by Maune.
Duchesne was called for a back row attack and Borgia closed to 21-18, but that’s as close as it got.
“We came back after being down in the first match after being down quite a bit,” Nieder said. “We got some key blocks and started playing some defense. We made them play defense and made the game close.”
Taking advantage of a service error, kill and Borgia mistake, the Pioneers reached game point at 24-18.
Borgia fought back and reached 20, but the game ended on a kill, 25-20.
That first game proved to be the highlight for the Knights. Duchesne ripped off the first four points before a lift violation put Borgia onto the scoreboard.
Down 10-3, the Knights did manage to get to within three points at 11-8, but Duchesne started to pull away again.
Borgia managed just two more points with one coming on a kill by Po Chun Huang. The other was a Duchesne error.
Up 18-10, Duchesne’s Tony Turnbeaugh served out the match with the Pioneers taking advantage at the net as well.
Nieder indicated the team has made some changes to the lineup to develop more attacking threats, especially at the outside hitter spots.
“We moved Alex and Po out to the outside to hit leftside for us,” Nieder said. “The setters are actually hitting leftside for us to try to give us a little bit of offensive power. We really didn’t have much of a chance to work on it in practice due to the snow days, but on paper, it looked like something good to try. It did well. There’s a lot of possibilities. Alex looks like he can hit from the outside. Po has some good fundamentals as well.”
Nieder knows the Knights have to work on serve-receive. Borgia struggled at times and getting out of system on the serves played a role in Borgia’s inability to attack in stretches.
“We need to work on that a whole lot,” Nieder said. “That just comes back down to practice with the snow days and everything else happening. We really have been lacking in the amount of practices we need to have and that hurts us right now.”
They’re a very solid program,” Nieder said. “We played their varsity last year and knew they have a really solid team. We knew this would be a good match for us.”
Nieder said he used a new lineup and the Knights hadn’t had much practice time with it.
“We played right with them,” Nieder said. “We didn’t get a chance to practice the lineup we knew we would be playing until we got there. We gave it a good match and adjusted well.”
Borgia was able to take one game, but wasn’t able to get over the hump in the final contest.
“It came down to the third game,” Nieder said. “We just fell a little bit short at the end.”
Borgia was a little shorthanded as well.
“We played a JV match and we played without Blechle and Brendan Joyce, so we played a little differently,” Nieder said.