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Growing Hubbard volleyball team sweeps Poland

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Hubbard outside hitter Gracie Bencetic sends the ball back over the net for the Eagles.

HUBBARD — For the Hubbard volleyball program, “growth” has been the theme of the season. In early September the Eagles cruised to a 3-0 victory over Poland.

When preparing for the rematch, Eagles coach Ron Slipkasky expected improvement from both teams and was happy with the consistency his team showed Thursday in another 3-0 triumph.

“We beat them the first week of the season and I knew they’d be improved,” Slipkasky said. “I think we played pretty consistent volleyball all three games. We got a little lead all three games and we kept it mostly through the games.”

Hubbard’s Gillian Ryser had 13 service points, Emily Filicky had 10 kills and Karissa Fahndrich was the primary setter with 31 assists, and had a strong defensive outing with 17 digs.

According to Slipkasky, closing out games has been tough at points this season. He saved his timeouts toward the end of each set to refocus the girls and remind them how important finishing is.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Hubbard’s Peyton Slovesko attempts a spike over the defense of Poland sophomore Katie McDonald.

“We’ve lost a lot of close games this year so I’m just trying to remind them that we’ve got to finish games,” Slipkasky said. “That’s why I kept calling timeouts. I think it helps keep them focused that way.”

The key to finishing games is all about confidence. Slipkasky thinks finishing is one of the last major hurdles for his team and once the confidence comes, so will the finishing.

“I think a lot of it is confidence, because they’ve struggled the last couple years and I think we’re getting really close to being a good team,” Slipkasky said.

Slipkasky is in his first season with the program and has watched his team’s growth over the last two months. Slipkasky’s Eagles (6-8) have already matched last season’s win total and have been competitive everytime they’ve stepped on the court.

“I think it’s been good,” Slipkasky said. “We’ve played a couple undefeated teams and lost to them in five games. We’re playing competitive with every team we’ve played on the schedule so far this year. It’s a tough league.”

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