Michael Kelly/Recorder staff Fonda-Fultonville's Anne Sinicropi prepares to serve the ball during Tuesday's volleyball match against Watervliet in Fonda.
By MICHAEL KELLY
FONDA -- The victory came without too much suspense Tuesday for the Fonda-Fultonville volleyball squad, but the Lady Braves left their home court knowing they need to improve upon their league debut.
"We have to practice and practice, and we have to get stronger -- and, our passing, we've been focusing on it, but it needs to start coming along," F-F sophomore Anne Sinicropi said following her team's victory against Watervliet in four sets, 25-7, 25-16, 17-25, 25-7.
Playing in a steamy F-F gymnasium that might have been sweating itself, the Lady Braves (1-0, 1-0 Colonial Council) were able to quickly dispose of the Lady Cannoneers (0-1, 0-1) in the first set, as Sinicropi contributed a stretch in which she successfully served nine times.
But F-F's play slipped a level in the second set and the Lady Braves let things go far enough in the third set that they lost.
F-F head coach Pat Mancini said her team struggled to "stay up" against Watervliet after the lopsided first set.
"But they need to work through that and, when they do, things will be good," Mancini said.
When the Lady Braves were not going well Tuesday, the main culprit was the club's initial passes.
"Most of our passes went right into the net," said junior Emily Littlejohn. "We need to work on that a lot."
And, the Lady Braves also had 16 serves during the match fail to find their mark, resulting in automatic points for Watervliet.
"That's way too many," said Mancini. "That's a lot of serves we need to get in the court. Those are points you're just giving away."
But neither problem is a particularly daunting one for the squad to fix. Mancini said the club will drill today on moving its feet better to land the Lady Braves in better position to make their passes, and the squad had plenty of good serving Tuesday in addition to its errant attempts; Sinicropi had 17 service points and 11 aces, junior Miranda Nethaway had seven aces and Littlejohn added five aces.
Most important, though, for the Lady Braves is to make sure the squad keeps in mind that it is going through the early-season growing pains that most clubs are experiencing at this point in the season.
"We've got to be more positive with ourselves," said Sinicropi. "A lot of us are getting frustrated and we need to pick it up. We need to come together as a team and stop getting down on ourselves."
The Lady Braves had a two-day break before Tuesday's Colonial Council action, as the club did not practice in the days following its participation in Saturday's Broadalbin-Perth Tip-Off Tournament. With a full practice session planned for today at F-F, Mancini said her team will look a lot different when it plays host Thursday to Cobleskill-Richmondville for another league match.
"They'll come back strong on Thursday," Mancini said.
Contact MICHAEL KELLY at firstname.lastname@example.org