But the Lightning players had a moment of reflection brought from
within the team.
"We had a team talk [Thursday]," captain Jake Lazere said. "We
weren't into games. We have a lot of potential, but I don't think the
team understood how to play an intense match."
The team meeting led to a high-energy practice, which in turn led
to a focused effort on the court in Sage Hill's 32-30,25-15, 25-19
win over visiting St. Margaret's Friday in an Academy League match.
"A win does so much for your confidence," Connolly-Freund said.
"We were nervous in the first game because we started to invest
energy into the match."
The butterflies created deficits of 4-1 and 13-6 for Sage Hill,
but the Lightning battled back.
Sage Hill went on a 5-0 run to cut the hole to 20-18 and
eventually tied the game at 22-22. Lazere created game-point when his
kill gave the Lightning a 24-23 advantage, but an illegal contact
evened the game. There were eight ties in the game after 22-22 and
four lead changes. A service error by the Tartans, coupled with a
service ace by Jamie McGee and a kill by Steven Hancock gave Sage
Will the victory.
"You could see we had the momentum after that game,"
Connolly-Freund said. "It was very important for us to win that first
game in overtime. It really carried over the to rest of the match."
The Lightning used that momentum to gain a 15-3 lead and Sage knew
how to close out the game despite not being in that situation all
The Tartans had renewed focus in the third game, staking an early
6-3 lead. Lazere hammered home a kill for Sage and Phil Kaye had a
service ace to tie the game at 11-11.
After St. Margaret's took a 15-12 lead, freshman setter Carl
Hillgren dumped a ball for a Lightning point and Will Rogan
registered a kill for the Lightning.
The Tartans had two kills, but four unforced errors gave the Sage
Hill an 18-17 lead. The Lightning grabbed a 21-18 lead on a service
ace by Rogan, kill by Lazere and an illegal contact by a St.
The Lightning scored the final four points of the match thanks to
three St. Margaret errors and a McGee kill.
The Tartans finished with 40 errors while Sage Hill registered 30.
"It wasn't a beautiful match," Connolly-Freund said. "A lot of
mistakes were made by both teams."
Lazere finished with a match-high 13 kills and middle blocker Mike
Morgan had seven for Sage Hill (1-9, 1-4 in league).
Jeff Kerchner had 12 kills for St. Margaret's (1-9, 0-4).
Hillgren registered a match-high 25 assists for the Lightning, who
play host to Capo Valley Christian Tuesday at 5 p.m.