Struggles in Sunshine State for volleyball

The Sunshine State wasn’t terribly kind to the Lady Norse. I’m sure the majority of us had a more pleasant Labor Day Weekend than the Northern Kentucky University Volleyball team.

But at least it’s in the early going. It would be unfair for anyone to say that the Norse lost to a couple of cupcakes – unless you consider the No. 7 and No. 9 ranked teams in America to be schedule softeners or stat-padders.

Although the Norse couldn’t make the ideal two-out-of-three, they showed some grit. And size too.

Kristina Eisenmenger and Kelsey Warsaw are trees in the middle, and should keep the Norse in many games.

Coming home helps too. The Norse had no problem disposing of Lindsey Wilson in a three-game sweep. The next night it was Kim Nemcek’s turn to do the killing, leading the Norse with 13 in another clean-sweep over neighboring Thomas More.

Some things may have clicked over the past few days since the team came home. Kelsey Wesaw continues to be an impact transfer in the middle. Although her stay in Highland Heights will be short, Carlos Chia has to be thrilled.

But unforced errors won’t do a team any favors against two nationally ranked Top 10 teams. Playing two Top 10 teams is going to tell a team where it needs to improve much more effectively than playing Sisters of the Poor in the non-conference portion of the season.

Service errors played major roles during the University of Tampa Tournament. Central Oklahoma stayed in the game because of the unforced errors. The service errors and a major attacking error may have cost the Norse an upset against Florida Southern. The Norse were tied at 12 until the two costly errors.

At the same time, the Norse were down 2-0. Basically, they were two errors away from coming home 2-1.

We’re still in the early stages of 2008. These kinks will be worked over the course of the next several weeks. Remember, it’s a new team whose transfers are still learning the system. The Norse needed a three-day tournament like this to see where they stand as a team. Again, the mistakes a team makes against great competition is much easier to decipher and more glaring than playing against cupcakes.

Now it’s off to another out-of-state tournament, this time in West Virginia. Again, these games are going to tell us a lot more about the Norse than what Thomas More and Lindsey Wilson showed us.

With a solid week here and an important tournament ahead, the rest of D-II might take notice of Highland Heights for another sport.