After dropping a three-set volleyball match to Blaine Tuesday night (Aug. 28), the Coon Rapids Cardinals turned things around last night (Aug. 29) to win a decisive four-set match at Heritage Christian Academy in Maple Grove.
“Blaine is really a premiere program in the state and we were able to do some things we wanted to do against them, so I feel good about that game,” said Coon Rapids head coach Scott Arcand.
And it looks like the Cardinals put those things to work again in the Heritage match, winning that contest 25-20, 25-17, 22-25, 25-19.
“The team improved on … passing and serving during the Heritage match,” said Arcand after the non-conference contest. “(And they) worked diligently to continue to communicate during the match.”
With a strong core of players – most returning from the 2011 team, Arcand said – the Cardinals come to the court aware of their strengths and weaknesses and ready to compete.
“We’re working on playing without fear,” Arcand said. “This group is a strong group, but sometimes they may feel intimidated and so we’re working on playing without fear.”
To play without fear, the girls are working on improving their passing and their communication on the court, he said.
“We’re getting confident and pursuing every ball,” Arcand said.
But beyond perfecting their skills on the volleyball court, the Cardinal team is honing life skills, he said.
“We’ve got a bunch of young women destined for greatness. They are good students, good players, good people,” Arcand said.
Arcand described his ultimate goal for the Cardinals – on and off the court.
“We want to work on dignity, integrity, and grace,” he said. “We’re talking about more than just volleyball. We’re developing successful, championship people in life.”
When asked to describe the Cardinals’ strengths on the volleyball court after the season’s first two games, four players came immediately to mind for Arcand.
“Right now we’re climbing on the back of Courtney Pasiowitz,” he said. “She’s an outside hitter who’s got some great stuff, some real power.” Pasiowitz had eight kills in the Blaine game alone, Arcand said.
Fellow senior Olivia Jung provides quiet leadership and determination.
“She’s quiet but she gets out there and does the job and does it well. She knows the game, she leads by example. She doesn’t have to say much, she just gets out there and does the job,” Arcand said.
Juniors Hannah Fitzer and Ali Fredericksen are another pair of players who impress Arcand.
Arcand moved Fitzer to setter this year and said she’s really taken to that position quickly.
“She moved right in and makes it work. She’s adapted to the new position with hardly a hesitation,” Arcand said.
Arcand had high praise for outside hitter Fredericksen, as well.
“Ali is a first-year varsity player and she is just doing awesome. She’s up and coming and she’s really showing us what she’s got,” he said.
This next week, Arcand and his Cardinals will work on building their game to the next level.
“Each game we’ll build and get better. As long as we keep getting better, what more can you ask,” Arcand said.
Next up, Park Center comes to Coon Rapids for a Sept. 6 match. First serve is at 7 p.m.
Arcand said the Cardinals’ preparation for that match will include reviewing video from the season’s first two contests and fine-tuning areas of concern.
“Park Center will be a big game,” Arcand said. “We need to focus on fundamentals, focus on our middle blocking. If we focus on what we need to do and do it properly, we’ll be fine.”
Sue Austreng is at