GENOA – Hanging with a tough opponent used to be good enough for the Genoa-Kingston volleyball team.
During his four years as head coach, Keith Foster has tried to shift his team toward a different mentality. Foster took over a program that won just three games all season in 2009, when a match like Monday’s 25-11, 25-22 loss to Burlington Central may have been looked upon as a jumping-off point.
Not in 2012.
“The whole philosophy has changed so that wins mean that you’ve done what you needed to do,” Foster said. “If you’re not winning, you’re not practicing hard enough, you’re not putting enough time and dedication into the sport. They know that now. They know that wins mean that you’re doing what you should be doing.”
A win over Burlington Central has eluded junior Olivia Cotton during her three years on the team.
G-K (6-4, 2-1 Big Northern Conference East Division) has been close to beating the Rockets (10-5, 2-0 BNC East) during Cotton’s four tries, and she thought Tuesday was the day everything would come together.
“We were just so pumped up, we thought we were finally good enough to do it, and we were overexcited,” said Cotton, who had 16 digs. “It’s definitely right there the whole time. I think when we go play them now, we got it all out, the jitters.”
After a first game that wasn’t close, the Cogs hung with Burlington Central, and trailed 22-21 before dropping three of the match’s last four points.
Overall, the Cogs weren’t overly disappointed in their day.
“We played strong, but we gave them too many free balls,” said sophomore outside hitter Cassidy Abraham, who had four kills. “Other than that, we played really strong.”
But at G-K, the result wasn’t acceptable.
This team takes their sport seriously now, Cotton said, unlike previous years. Girls play on club teams and work out with greater frequency in the off-season.
“This year, we’re just stronger. We all know each other more, we’ve all been working out more,” Cotton said. “[Foster] made us feel like we know we could do it. Whereas in years previous people would just do it for fun, he made it so we held ourselves to higher standards.”
On Oct. 4th, the Cogs will head to Burlington for a rematch.
If Genoa-Kingston is more composed, Cotton is confident she’ll tally her first win against the Rockets.
“They’re a good team, they’re confident, we were just excited that we finally had a chance,” Cotton said. “We overplayed it. I think we’re going to do awesome when we go play them at their place.”