|LACKING CONFIDENCE IN LOSS...
The Covington Lady Buccs lacked the confidence to overcome mistakes and suffered their first loss of the season at Russia.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2011 - RUSSIA
Covington traveled to Russia on Monday in an early season battle between two unbeaten volleyball teams and it looked like it would be a thriller after the host Raiders took the first game by the narrow margin of 25-23.
But the volleyball fireworks never materialized as Russia won the second and third games by the scores of 25-16 and 25-21 to sweep Covington in three games.
"When we lost the first game, we just couldn't recover mentally," said Covington coach Lindsey Sullenberger. "Right now we don't have the confidence in ourselves to respond when things go bad against good teams."
Covington appeared to be rolling in the first game, holding the lead for much of the match.
But Russia scored three straight points to take a 22-21 lead and the Lady Buccs never recovered.
"Good teams are going to get some kills, they'll get some blocks," Sullenberger said. "We have to put those behind us and keep playing. Instead, we become cautious and afraid to mess up. That's when things go bad for us."
Russia used the momentum from the first game to jump out to a 10-4 lead in the second game. Covington responded by cutting the margin to 12-8, but couldn't close the gap any further in a 25-16 defeat.
The confidence Covington lacked in the second game appeared to be returning in the third game as the Lady Buccs battled back to take a 20-19 lead.
But mistakes again snowballed on the Lady Buccs and Russia took advantage by scoring six of the final seven points of the match for a 25-21 win.
"I felt we gave up too easily," Sullenberger explained. "What I mean by that is there were some balls we never even tried to get. In practice we dive for every ball, but we don't do that in games."
The win improves Russia's record to 8-0 on the season, while Covington drops to 4-1 and a team still looking for its identity.
"It's hard to tell how good we are," Sullenberger said. "I think we can be a really good volleyball team. We have the physical tools. I think if the girls ever realize they are good, then we'll be good. Until then, we'll struggle."
Covington travels to Bradford tomorrow and then hosts Arcanum on Thursday.
JV RESULT: Russia defeated Covington in two games 25-4 and 25-13.
FRESHMAN RESULT: Russia defeated Covington 25-12, 25-11