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Bulldog sports round-up — Oct. 8, 2015

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YSPN News Sports Dept. presents: “Inside the Mind of an Athlete: Volleyball edition.”
The Yellow Springs High School volleyball team’s only game last week was cancelled. However, the Bulldog team did not hesitate to respond to a recent conversation on the disposition of a volleyball player.

“You have to be ready to hit the ground — hard,” said junior Elizabeth Smith. “A lot of people think volleyball is like a kid’s game where you can’t let a balloon touch the floor.”
“And you can’t be afraid of hurting someone,” said coach Christine Linkhart. “I know that sounds awful, but there are a lot of girls that come and won’t hit the ball because they’re afraid of hitting someone.”

Of course, the necessity of sacrificing yourself and other players underscores a certain toughness required to play the sport, but the game also demands the ability to pay attention to what at least 11 other players are doing, all at once.

“When you have six people moving around, there’s a lot of reading. You have to read the entire team — you have to read their shoulders, their hips, you have to know what the setter does,” explained Linkhart.

Reading the other team and working together with your own is the crux of the game. There is no room for individual achievements, the team agreed, because each play is a sequence of moves orchestrated by players who specialize in each part of the sequence. Linkhart said the team has been successful this year because they play as a team.

“There is no room for individual achievements,” she said. “Meredith Rowe and Elle Peifer are really good hitters, but they can’t hit the ball if Julie Roberts and Casey Linkhart can’t set them. This team has been successful this year because they play as a team. They play really well together. If one girl gets down, there are other girls there to pick them up.” She added that the cohesion is especially important because players are rotated between the front and back rows.

Linkhart said that keeping one’s head in the game and keeping the team’s morale buoyant is important because there are so many factors the players have to process and react to.
“With basketball, you know the goal is to get the ball in the hoop. But in volleyball, the ball has to hit the floor, but it can hit the floor anywhere,” she said. “You have to anticipate where the ball is going, or where you want it to go. It’s a lot of physics. You have to find where that hole is.”

Linkhart said that because volleyball is such a mental game, it’s not out of the question to be intimidated by a team with a fierce reputation. But that fear can be overcome by the practice and discipline particular to a well-prepared squad. “We have to know that we as a team are better than they as a team,” she said.

Part of the Bulldogs’ success is the veneer of calm, which masks an aggressive drive to play well. They’re so laid back, Linkhart said, “but when they get out on the court, their alter egos come out and they just go all out.”

Linkhart said that the team’s camaraderie and the accretion of individual skills is evident on the court.

“This is a really, really good team to watch,” she said. “This is my favorite team to coach ever.”

The YSHS Bulldogs went 1–1 this week in their games against Xenia Christian and Franklin Monroe. Coach Ben VanAusdal said the games exemplified how different each half can be, as both featured halves where one was as stellar as the other was subpar.

The Bulldogs beat conference rival Xavier Christian 4–2 on Oct. 1. They knew it was an important game, VanAusdal said, which prompted the boys’ early “domination.” He said he doubts that Xavier was able to even get a shot off during the first half. VanAusdal said Joe Plumer, the leading scorer in the conference, with 18 goals and 12 assists, scored a particularly nice goal. Sweeper Hayden Orme and fullbacks Jesse Linkhart and Andrew Clark, both freshman, also did well.

The 25 mph wind may have helped the Bulldogs a little, but it was proportionally deleterious when the teams switched sides for the second half. Xenia was newly competitive for the rest of the game, but the prospect of defeat and the benefit of the wind wasn’t enough to turn the tide.

The game on Oct. 3 against Franklin Monroe was equally hard-fought but resulted in a loss.
VanAusdal said that the boys were definitely up for a good game. The Bulldogs’ passing, possession and defensive games were all on point. Fisher Lewis scored a goal when a free kick by Joe Plumer ricocheted off a goal post.

However, the coach reported, the team came out “panicking” in the second half. The game was a good indication of how an 80-minute playing time is sufficient for a reversal of fortune. The score was tied in the 66th minute and then tipped in Franklin Monroe’s favor when they scored with five minutes left.

VanAusdal said all props go to their opponent. “They wanted it more than we did,” he said. “The last 25 minutes were outrageous.”

But “he couldn’t ask for a better team,” VanAusdal said. “My expectations are already really high and [the boys] are exceeding them.”

YSHS boys soccer overall record is 7–4–1. The Oct. 1 victory brought their conference record to 4–0–0.

A number of athletes had their best 5K times of the season at the Buck Creek Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 3. Kaden Boutis continued his streak of shaving tens of seconds off of each run and finished in 20:04; Zach Brintlinger-Conn finished a minute and a half faster than his last race at 18:41, and Olivia Brintlinger-Conn finished almost two minutes quicker than before at 22:39.

Levi Brown and Eli Capasso both finished in 18:52. Zach Lugo ran in 20:43. Eric Romohr and Paxton Willoughby finished in 34:54 and 34:56 respectively. Maya Creighton ran the 5K in 24:47 and Charlotte Walkey crossed the finish line in 22:56.

Sean Adams ran the 3200 in 13:39. Emma Ronnebaum crossed after 15:15, Priscilla Hadap after 17:28, Hunter Sparks in 17:40, and Shaylee Smith in 18:03.


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