ERIE – When Erie and Fairview volleyball met on the EHS court Tuesday night, the teams brought very different paths with them.
Fairview, which improved significantly from its 6-17 record last year, has 11 games and eight wins. Erie had seen much less competition, holding a 2-3 record in just five contests.
However, Erie took an early lead and never lost it with a 3-0 win (25-16, 25-19, 25-20). The Tigers started the season with three straight losses, but have been channeling that potential energy into something more dynamic of late.
“I think when we need to bring energy, we’re really good at it,” junior setter Avery Malek said. “We all do our jobs in a way that makes it easier for everyone else to do their jobs, which is really nice. I think the tougher the competition gets, the better we can adapt to it because we’ve played against good teams and bad teams. We went through everything together and know what to expect.”
Erie was certainly a well-oiled machine against the Knights, especially when the Knights started to sweat.
The Tigers quickly took control in the first set, eventually leading to a 25-16 win, but cooled off early in the second frame. The Knights, hoping for a comeback, started with full force before Erie overwhelmed them to take the set by a score of 25-19.
The composure that Erie displayed under pressure has been a minor hurdle during the season, but the second frame provided a perfect glimpse into the turn the team has taken of late.
“The collective effort was the best part of the whole thing,” said head coach Madison Fisher. “At the very beginning it was up and down, up and down, and then we finally found some consistency. And even though I changed some of the lineup tonight to bring a few different kids into the game, they still worked hard for each other. They still communicated very well. That’s the biggest difference we’ve seen. They control the things they can control.”
Little by little, Fairview seemed to get stronger and closer to stealing a set of their own. However, Erie had other plans. Despite a strong performance from the Knights, who were only able to gain two points with the score at 19-17, the Tigers managed to defeat them with a flawless game and finished with a 25-20 final.
Senior Mia Hoskins, who has been with the Knights since a shortened, winless season as a freshman, believes the team’s turnaround since last year also comes down to camaraderie and selflessness. She saw that this had an impact on every point.
“I think that this year we all get along very, very well and at the end we all have the same goal,” she said. “We just always lean on each other, no matter if things are harder or easier.”
Erie moved firmly to .500 with the win and will look to extend its winning streak to four games when it travels to Northglenn on Thursday night. Fairview will also look to use the loss of the contest as a springboard to its next home game that same evening at Rocky Mountain.
The Knights have proven they are better prepared for the Front Range League than they have been in recent years.
“I think in these tough games we will realize our potential and see what we can do,” Fairview head coach Lauren Ollanik said. “I think the first two games we played weren’t really a great showcase of our skills, but I think we’ll be able to put all the pieces together in the future.”