West Ranch girls volleyball struggles at home, lose in four sets

West Ranch's Allison Jacobs puts the ball in the air against Louisville. The Wildcats played at home against the Royals Tuesday evening. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.
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The West Ranch girls volleyball team won the first set against Louisville on Tuesday, but it was the only victory of the night, as the Wildcats fell in four sets.

Senior outside hitter Sophie Bobal, who had 14 kills on the evening, delivered an ace to give the Wildcats a 25-22 win in the first game. They would go on to lose the second game 25-16, the third 25-23 and the fourth 25-20.

It was the third loss for the Wildcats (0-3) in three matches, a trend that has head coach Jamey Ker concerned about his team’s defense.

“We have to limit unforced errors and the defense, after the three losses that’s been the very evident thing,” Ker said. “It was evident after our first loss. We spent some time on it but we need to spend more time on it, clearly.”

Junior outside hitter Allison Jacobs stepped into a new role on Tuesday, playing libero for the first time in her career. It was a decision that Jacobs made in order to rest her back, as she prepares for the 2018 NORCECA U18 Continental Championships in Honduras next week.

“I leave on Friday for my big tournament, so I wanted to rest because my back has been bothering me lately,” Jacobs said. “It was also a new opportunity to play a new position I thought could benefit the team.”

“I’ve given her a little autonomy,” Ker added. “I told her, ‘If you feel like your back is ready to go you can play outside.’ She felt like she wanted to rest, but she did a great job at libero which I’m not surprised. She’s a great defender, great passer, but we missed her as an attacker tonight.”

While Jacobs switched positions to get rest, she was still moving all over the court, diving for loose balls as the team’s defensive anchor.

Senior middle blocker Maxine Osunsanmi wasn’t surprised to see her teammate play well in her new role, but the positional switch lead to a handful of rotation violations, costing the Wildcats crucial points.

“I knew she could do it, she literally throws her body across the court,” Osunsanmi said. “But this is new for her, so the rest of the team had to adapt to that, and it’s really hard to adapt when a player is playing a new position.”

“It was miscommunication and since I’m so new to the position, my team isn’t used to me playing that position,” Jacobs said. “It was just raw rookie-ness in a way.”

West Ranch will look to log its first win of the season on Friday when they face Westlake on the road. While Jacobs won’t be there for the match, she’s just as hyped as the rest of her teammates.

“We are so excited for Westlake and I’m not even going to be here,” said Jacobs, who will miss three preleague games, but be back in time for league play. “It’s going to be a big challenge. We have to play a lot better volleyball than we did tonight. The big thing is defense, we have to play good defense.”

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