by Kyle Koso
Having just entered their teen years, players on the WyoCity Crushers 14 Blue volleyball team know there are many matches to come, and a million swings left to take.
However, that’s no reason to stand around and let opportunities go unexplored.
The Crushers (Casper, WY) approached Saturday’s action at the Triple Crown Mile High Madness tournament with an aggressive mindset, typically taking on older teams and showing plenty of fight despite any shortages in experience or physical size. They posted three wins on the day, the last one a resounding 25-14, 25-13 victory over ClubOne 16-2 to set the table for a Sunday run in the Division 2 Pikes Peak bracket.
Other results for the Crushers on Saturday included a 25-7, 25-14 win over NORCO 13-2 and 25-14, 25-18 over ClubOne 15.
In the day’s finale, the Crushers muscled up in multiple positions, with Makieha Humphreys and Presley Pruitt swinging hard and with accuracy. Soryn Gold mixed in an ace and multiple kills along the way in a show of the roster’s depth, and Noa Hodgin also impressed, especially with a perfectly placed kill at the end of Set 2.
“We are very pleased. We are working hard, and there’s accountability here. They talk, communicate and never will give up,” said Crushers coach Anthony Gold. “Some of the aggressiveness is natural, and with that is, I want them to swing hard. When you get a good set, a kill is what you need to have, and if there’s a dig on it I tell them to switch it up, with a tip or to push it one side or the other. This is a good bunch of girls.”
Applying steady pressure worked great for the Crushers; ClubOne would try to bang their way back into the mix, but too many hitting errors made it impossible. The Crushers close the first set with a 10-2 run, and did the same in Set 2 with a burst of 11-3.
“It’s so great to be playing older teams and to be doing it at this level; it can be intimidating because we are a really short team,” Humphreys said. “If I see a block at the net, I try to swing through their hands, and just try to rip it through on a normal hit.”
“Whenever I get a good set and opportunity, I just go for it,” Pruitt added. “I do my best, try to hit it as well as I can. Before the match I was a little worried about playing a 16’s team, but in the match I see that we can do this. I like the chemistry we have, how we play together and get ourselves back up if we’re down.”
Defensively, the Crushers had solid moments as well, keeping plays alive and doing the hard work of getting back in system, when they could again let their offensive weapons get loose.
“Our (runs) feel good, but that can make you nervous, too, because volleyball can be anyone’s game on any day,” coach Gold said. “You have to keep working until it’s over, and then you can celebrate.”