OVIEDO — After racing out and earning four fast wins — without losing a set — to open the regular season, Olympia volleyball faced its first true test Sept. 3 when it traveled to take on the Oviedo Lions.
Although the Lions — state champions in 2013 and a playoff team in Class 7A last season under coach Jen Darty — bested the Titans (4-1) in four sets (25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 25-18), Olympia coach Mitch Sadowsky felt optimistic coming out of the match. Within the one match, the veteran coach got to see where his team needs improvement and also how good it can be — the Titans looked more than formidable in a second-set victory.
“Oviedo is a really good team; we just weren’t as crisp in the third and the fourth set, and part of that was Oviedo,” Sadowsky said. “This is a match that we needed to have. The girls needed to get out and see where we need to focus more of our energy.”
Olympia’s first four wins came over Ocoee, Edgewater, International Community School and Wekiva, respectively. After the Titans defeated Edgewater in straight sets to improve to 2-0 on Aug. 27, Sadowsky spoke about how this year’s squad has an all-hands-on-deck mentality, needing different players to step up on different nights and noting the roster’s lack of a true star player.
“We’ve got to really spread the wealth around a little bit,” Sadowsky said. “We can’t get into an outside battle — we’re going to have to spread the ball around and get a lot to our middles. The more balanced an offense we are, the better we’re going to be.”
While the Titans may lack a dominant outside hitter, the team does have a very talented setter in senior Lorissa King. King is one of just two seniors on the team, and Sadowsky has described her abilities as “phenomenal.”
The Titans’ relative youth — Olympia has six freshmen and sophomores to pair with its senior duo and a large junior presence — is why, in part, the match against Oviedo was so important. Freshman middle Mya Wilson, for instance, had a breakout game with seven kills.
“Mya Wilson was incredible tonight,” Sadowksy said. “Callie Montgomery was a huge pickup for us off the bench.”
Sadowksy also has high hopes for sophomores Gabby Nye and Alix Polk, among others, and Olympia should be tested again in an upcoming match against rival Dr. Phillips (Sept. 15) and in tournaments in mid- and late September.
“I saw a lot of things that I really liked, and I saw some things we’re going to work on in practice,” Sadowsky said.