HIBBING — It was a rough week of practice for the Hibbing Community College volleyball team, and it couldn’t have come at a worst time.
Cardinal coach Kasey Palmer had players missing for a mixture of things, sometimes having less than six players in the mix.
That didn’t bode well with undefeated Central Lakes coming into town Saturday, and it showed as the Raiders came away with a 3-0, 25-13, 27-25, 25-14 in an MCAC Northern Division clash at Cardinal Gymnasium.
At times, there wasn’t much Palmer could do at practice because there weren’t enough players to do drills.
“We had a rough week of practice,” Palmer said. “We didn’t have the full team there for the past two weeks, and it showed. We lacked a bit of chemistry. We didn’t play great together.
“Set two was good for us. That showed us that we can play with Central Lakes. We have the talent to do it, but it’s having that motivation and showing up every day to get better.”
In sets one and two, the Cardinals got into a tipping mode when they needed to hit.
Hibbing had set two won when a Central Lakes kill attempt sailed out of bounds, but a net violation was called, giving the Raiders the point.
Central Lakes eventually won the set.
“I do think we tip, too, much, but it all starts with our serve receive,” Palmer said. “We’re not passing well, so we’re not getting a great set. Tonight, we went in with the attitude that we can’t swing away at balls.
“You have to put them in play because there are way too many hitting errors. It was a little bit of both, not getting a pass good enough to run an offense, and two, if it wasn’t perfect, we wanted to keep the ball in play to give us a chance.”
There’s another reason why the Cardinals get caught in a tipping game.
“It comes with a lack of confidence,” Palmer said. “We’re a young team, so they don’t want to swing and put it away. They don’t believe in themselves to do that even though we can.
“We resort to tipping it to keep it in.”
Set No. 3 was over before it started as Central Lakes jumped out to a big lead and, and even though the Raiders had a slight lapse during the latter stages of the set, Hibbing couldn’t put a run together to make it a game.
“Central Lakes didn’t play their best in set two because we took them out of their system,” Palmer said. “They came back and made adjustments, and we weren’t able to. We came out flat. We couldn’t pass the ball.
“They came out with an ‘I’m here to win attitude.’”
The Cardinals will be on the road on Wednesday, taking on Mesabi Range, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at William Wirtanen Gymnasium.