By Noah Dalton
MITCHELL – For the second time this season, Mitchell High School emerged victorious from a clash with Salem, this time by a score of 3-0, after starting their season with a 2-0 win against the Lions on August 12.
After a 25-17 win in Saturday’s first set, the Bluejackets played their strongest set of the night in the second, winning 25-8 before carrying that momentum into the third for a 25-12 win to close out.
“I think we were a little cleaner, that first game we got a little sloppy with our hitting cannon and that kind of contributed to a few of their points. We probably made eight or nine errors, but I thought as the night went, we cleaned it up. In the second set, we really didn’t make those silly errors, third set was pretty solid all the way around,” said Mitchell head coach Scott Saunders.
Jocelyn Allen led the Bluejackets with 11 kills, aided by Brooke Reynolds, who added eight. Defensively for Mitchell, both Jillian Bond and Grace Thompson added two blocks.
A win in this manner, coming off another strong win on Tuesday against North Daviess, is an encouraging sign for the Bluejackets and Saunders after he felt the team hadn’t closed as strongly as they were capable of the previous week in a win over Orleans, where the Bulldogs nearly managed to come back in each set, despite Mitchell’s eventual 3-0 win.
“Well, I think I think we did a nice job at North Daviess on Tuesday, a nice job over here tonight. We didn’t just kind of say ‘okay, we’re handling them easy.’ When you win 25-8, I don’t care who is over there or what they’re doing, you’ve still got to be doing some things right,” he said.
“I think we improved a little bit. Like I said, I think a lot of our issue from the Orleans game on through that the weekend was getting our head on straight a little bit and getting back to a little more joy, a little more enthusiasm for the game and I think we just kind of hit that low there. I think we’re coming back out of it.”
These back-to-back wins come on the heels of the team’s participation in the Brownstown Central Invitational, where they went 1-3 on the day, beating Columbus East and losing to Brownstown Central, East Central and Seymour.
Saunders said the team’s experience at the event playing against stronger competition helped expose areas where the team needs to improve, hopefully helping them as the season goes on.
“I think it helps. I think what that does, is that exposes some of the flaws you have that maybe when you’re playing some of these other teams, you don’t see it as much because you’re just looking at scoreboard. But when you’re playing those guys, it gets exposed and then you see it on their side of the scoreboard,” said Saunders.
“So, I think, I think the speed of those teams helps us getting ready defensively, things like that, attention to detail, we see that it’s gotta be a little better to meet those other teams and that’s what we’re looking for. I love playing those type of tournaments. It doesn’t matter, win, lose, draw for those, we’re learning and that’s a good thing.”
The next matchup for the Bluejackets is set for Sept. 5, when they’ll welcome Bloomfield (3-8) to The Hive.