December 2, 2021

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4A No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain girls volleyball learning lessons from loss to 5A No. 3 Chaparral

COLORADO SPRINGS – Cheyenne Mountain has no shortage of tough volleyball teams on its schedule. And that’s because the team has no shortage in its desire to face top-notch competition early in the year and use it to get better.
That’s why the Class 4A No. 2 Red-Tailed Hawks were happy to welcome 5A No. 3 Chaparral to Colorado Springs. From a scoreboard outlook, it might have been a bad decision as the Wolverines claimed the 21-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-18 win, but there is a clear and precise reason that the Hawks (2-2 overall) happily lined up against the team that claimed the 5A title just two years ago.
“We do this to make us better,” coach Ellen Senf said. “We learned so many lessons tonight, especially with these 5A schools, that you learn no matter if it’s a win or a loss. It just benefits us to play those bigger 5A schools at the beginning of the season.”
They held their own, especially early in the match. The teams traded points early and the Wolverines (6-2) eventually grabbed a 16-14 lead. The Hawks went a 5-1 run to take the lead and then relied on their hitters to finish off the first set.
Nicole Martin had a big kill to give them a 24-21 lead and they finished it off to put Chap on its heels early.
“We were doing really well,” Martin said. “We were playing as a team and having fun.”
The next two sets played out in a similar fashion only it was the Wolverines taking the wins. The Hawks led 19-14 in the second set but couldn’t hold off a furious rally from the Wolverines. 

That very moment was a key lesson that Senf knew her team had to learn should they hope to accomplish their goals for the season.
“We have to give 100 percent no matter what the schore is,” senior Kingsley Mason said. “We have to push ourselves to our limits and work as a team and hold everyone accountable.”
Accountability was a big talking point after the match. In all four sets, the Hawks went toe to toe with a traditional 5A powerhouse. They could only close out one of those sets and that kind of return won’t get the job done when they meet Rampart, Pine Creek and Liberty later in the year during Pikes Peak Athletic Conference play.
“When we won that first set, we didn’t come out with that mindset that we had to push harder,” Mason added. “They were going to come out 10 times harder in that second set.”
And that proved to be the difference. It’s just the second loss of the year for the Hawks, but both of them came against teams ranked in the top three of the coaches poll.
In a weird way, those losses can go a long way in building confidence for the remainder of the season. And the Hawks will need that confidence it they’re going to claim their first state championship since 2015.
“You can learn from mistakes,” Martin said. “We just need to be ok and move on from this game. You can learn who you are as a player by doing that.”