When asked before Tuesday night’s match against Waconia if redemption was on the line, Shakopee Volleyball Coach Matt Busch simply replied, “Redemption.” Well, they got it.
Technically the revenge win over the Wildcats came on September 20th when the Sabers pounced 3-1. That was the first meeting between the two teams since Waconia, as heavy underdogs, knocked off Shakopee in the 2010 Section 2AAA Semi-finals.
But that victory didn’t steer Coach Busch away from trying to light a fire under his returning varsity athletes, those that were a part of last year’s team. In fact, it was the last image he brought up with his team before they took the court.
Even so, Shakopee came stumbling out of the gate. Looking lost and nervous they fell 25-20. It would, however, turn out to be the only game that Waconia thoroughly controlled.
Dropping game one, as well, to Chaska in the section quarterfinals on Friday, the girls had been here before this post-season. Despite not wanting to be there, Coach Busch knew it was something he could draw inspiration from as well.
Some quick changes and Shakopee came out firing in the second. Jumping out to a quick 5-1 lead, the Sabers appeared to be in sync. However, what would become consistent over the course of the night was their inconsistency. Several times, Shakopee was on the verge of surrender 5 and 6 point leads before stopping Waconia runs short of level. Heading into game three the match would be tied 1-1 as Shakopee took game two 25-21.
Game three was all Shakopee however not without its fair share of drama as Waconia wouldn’t go away. The Sabers come out with their second game of the match 25-17.
Still playing with what Coach Busch would later define as “fear”, the Sabers struggled through game four. Service errors, net errors, you name it they found a way to shoot themselves in the foot.
However, through it all, they found a way to win. Is that the sign of a champion? Maybe the appropriate term at this point would be lucky recluse.
Only time will tell.
Letting Waconia back into the game once again but never allowing control to be deferred, Shakopee took game four 25-21 and the match.
As far as that “fear” goes, Coach Busch says it’s something that needs to go away. The finality of the post-season can be a motivating factor, but when it forces you to play with apprehension it can be debilitating.
“That’s something that we’re just gonna (sic) have to work through over the next three days of practice…at this stage we just can’t play with fear.”
Shakopee will face Hutchinson (Tuesday, 3-1 over Chanhassen) Saturday for the section championship.