As they won their 13th game of the season and beat Marion Local in straight sets, Fort Loramie’s John Rodgers is enjoying the games left on their schedule to put the finishing touches on their tournament resumption.
Fort Loramie, Ohio – As usual, after eighteen games of their season, the Fort Loramie Redskins (13-5) looked like a well-rehearsed scene from a flagship show Tuesday night with three sets… 25-18, 25-18 and 25 -14… convince to visit Marion Local.
No, that wasn’t your typical Marion squad, with the Anthony Chappell Flyers having only won five in eighteen times this year, but Rodgers, as usual, took no chances in trusting the record. on their inheritance.
“No, because they have a tradition, they’re well trained and they’re going to compete,” Rodgers said before the game. “I never consider someone’s record when preparing for an opponent.”
In the end, that made good sense … because Marion, despite the record, played like Marion’s best teams of the past – serving well, passing well, disciplined and able to do those three and four point runs that help you build momentum in volleyball.
But Loramie, like all former Rodgers teams, is an example of their recent district, regional and state finals, looking for anything that can help them by November to equal their only state title. in volleyball, back in 2014. He likes balance, talks about it frequently, and on Tuesday the Redskins showed balance. They served, they passed, they blocked and they defended on the back line.
“Yes, our seniors are showing good leadership and we are gaining calm and maturity during the season. One of the things about playing a touch program is that you are going to gain experience whether you like it or not. And how you deal with that is going to determine how things go for you. I think we’ve handled adversity pretty well so far, and we’re starting to come together at the right time of the season. But I’ll take a little more, and it’s a good thing that we have some time left in our season.
As usual, they spread it. Ava Sholtis leads the Redskins with 10 kills, but their defense was exemplary in Tuesday’s win – Heitkamp had 21 digs, while Colleen Brandewie had 14 and Sholtis had 11. They got so used to the consistency system. de Rodgers, that this raises the question of whether he takes the time to compare year over year.
“Maybe,” Rodgers said. “Every team is different because even if you have similar players, you don’t have six or eight similar players. Over the last few years we’ve been more of a midfield attack, and now we’re trying to be a well-balanced attack. I think people knew where we were going in the past, and now we want to let them guess. This is something that we are really working on this year.
Still, one cannot confuse senior Ava Sholtis as a go-to performer, back and healthy after missing a year with an ACL knee injury.
“It’s great to see her back, healthy and getting to the rhythm of something she loves to do,” says Rodgers. “It took him a long time. She missed a whole year. But now his instincts return, figuring out what to do when sets aren’t perfect and honing his volleyball IQ. She doesn’t have to worry about anything physically now. Now she can focus on the game and how it opens up for her.
Marion did her best to probe the Redskin defense, extending the rally and forcing Loramie to work for points early in the game, but their defense turned out to be exactly what Rodgers wanted to see.
“Defense is an attitude,” he argues. “To play at a high level you have to have confidence in the people around you, in your skills and in what you are supposed to do.
“It’s something that we work very hard on, we criticize it in practice, and that someone notices is a compliment to the program. As with dance, defense is a choreography that we work hard on to get everyone moving in the right places and at the right time. We’re trying to become more consistent… with everything.
They’ve had better records at this point in the season in recent years, but they’re ranked 8th, statewide, in the latest Division IV coaching poll. He’s okay with that too.
The guantlet in the Division IV area is going to be tough, as always, and maybe… just maybe… someone will take a look at their balance sheet instead of their inheritance. Maybe someone will be complacent at the time of the tournament.
But it won’t be John Rodgers and Fort Loramie.