Obstacles to overcome

Varsity volleyball team fights to get into their stride for the upcoming state run


Eliza Swanson

Senior captain Nathan Goestenkors sends a ball back over the net. He’s developed a status as one of the “ball killers” in the league.

Garrett Allen, Staff reporter

In a stunning 29-27 second-set win against FHN last Tuesday the 11th, the varsity boys volleyball team advanced yet closer to a successful state run this season, following their disastrous loss at districts last year.

Outside hitters senior Nathan Goestenkors and junior Connor McAfee have played a huge role in winning matches this year, as well as on the 11th. Goestenkors, a captain alongside senior middle blocker Collin King, has an especially important role.

“It was down to the wire. The first set, we had control, but it was in the second set when we started slipping up; it was the closest match we’ve had,” Goestenkors said. “We were supposed to win that by a lot, but people started making mistakes – the same mistakes over and over again – everyone had their turn at making mistakes.”

“They put up quite a fight. We checked the record and they’re only about 5-5, but they’re actually not as bad as their record shows,” McAfee said.

While maintaining a high win-loss ratio throughout this year’s matches, there still remains a sizable area for improvement in preparation for future clashes with state #1 Lafayette, and similarly skilled SLU High.

“We should definitely our passing – our serve-receive. Sometimes our passes aren’t great to the setters, so they can’t get a good set. It’s like a domino effect – we’ll have a bad pass, our setter will have a bad set, and it just goes downhill from there,” Goestenkors said. “It’s all in the mindset. Once you take that first pass and mess up with it, it’s in your head, and you just start messing up after that, so sometimes we have to switch people up and jump over in front to take that pass.”

“That’s our biggest weakness so far. Honestly, our passing needs to get a lot better before we verse Lafayette or SLUH; they’re really good,” King said.

A common strategy of an advanced volleyball team is to locate weaknesses in-match and exploit them. If FHC is to take the final four at the state championships in May, one of the primary goals will be to figure out how to exploit their competitors’ weaknesses, as well as not show any on their own end.

“We do have a ways to go before we face them, but we do need to start looking over how they play, so we can figure out their weak spots. Every team’s got a weak spot; there’s only six guys on the court, there’s always one space open, and you gotta figure out what that space is in order to get a point,” Goestenkors said.

“They’ve shown [through exploiting our weak spots] that we need to communicate more when we’re passing in the back row. So when they send [the ball] over, we need to figure out who’s going to pass the ball first,” McAfee added.”

However, their shot to the final four is still solid, as they’ve been playing together as a team since freshman year.

“We are trying to find our groove but I wouldn’t say we are in it yet. We’ve been watching footage from previous games and seeing what we did wrong. As far as meshing as a team goes, I think we’re doing pretty well,” King said.

“I feel like we have a lot more work to do, but we’re building more chemistry than I ever thought we would,” McAfee said. “But to face them, we’re going to need all the chemistry we got.”

“I honestly think we could be a final four team, easy, if we keep putting in all the work we’ve been putting in. I feel like we have a good chance, if we work hard enough.”