SPRINGFIELD TWP. — Last week, Cloverleaf volleyball coach Linnea Wolf celebrated her first varsity win with the Colts. Tuesday night, she and the Colts celebrated their first winning streak together.
Cloverleaf rolled early and stayed strong late to sweep Springfield 25-16, 25-5, 26-24, in Portage Trail Conference Metro Division play.
“I feel very good, mostly for the team, because they needed it,” Wolf said. “We’ve got a young team as far as varsity experience goes, and it took them awhile to find their chemistry. And now that’s happened, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Senior Chase Mizell-Skelton led the way with match highs of seven kills, 17 service points and 10 aces. She ran off five in a row in the first game and six in a row in the second to get Cloverleaf (2-4, 2-2) off and running, then finished the match with an ace.
“I’ve been very off with my serve this season, but tonight I was back in it,” she said. “In practice I’ve been watching my toss and my float, especially, and I’ve been feeling like it’s coming back. But tonight I had that confidence again.”
The Colts finished with 20 aces among their 46 service points. Senior Tanzi Buchan had 14 points and five aces to go along with six kills, while sophomore Melinda Thielenhaus added eight points, four aces and five kills.
“With a (Springfield) team like this, we have to keep our energy up or we let down a little, like we did in the third set, so we want to make sure we serve hard and move the ball around,” Mizell-Skelton said. “You have to be able to spot your serves at this level.”
Buchan and Thielenhaus each had sprawling digs to keep alive rallies in the final points of the third set, as well.
“When we played Woodridge (the Colts’ first win), that fifth set was the first time I told my coaches, ‘That’s my team,’” Wolf said. “They were talking and clicking and moving, and everyone was giving 110 percent. Now that’s what I expect to see all the time.”
It’s all part of Colt Culture, which Wolf described as looking at more than just the player when she steps on the court.
“It’s instilling excellence, excellence in all things, excellence in character,” she said. “When I’m coaching I want to think about the kids first and the athlete second. Yes, we’ll work on skills and plays, but I’m coaching how they approach things on and off the court. In the long run, that will change how they play the game.”
Mizell-Skelton said the idea is instilling a sense of togetherness.
“It’s keeping us together as a family,” she said. “We were all super close, but this keeps us together and helps us encourage each other.”
Contact Chris Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.