BOLINGBROOK — Bolingbrook boys volleyball coach Andrea Bercot had one message she wanted to hit home Monday night.
"Know where they're at. That was pretty much all we talked about," Bercot said.
After winning the first game over visiting Plainfield East, the Raiders were called for untimely rotation errors that helped the Bengals hand Bolingbrook a 18-25, 25-19, 25-15 defeat.
"The first game they came out really confident, they knew where they were at, they dominated," Bercot said. "It's all about confidence, I think. Once their confidence gets shaken a little bit they start to question their every move, and I think that's what happened in the second and third games."
The confidence from a Game 1 win carried over into the second game, so when a rotation error gave the Bengals an 8-4 lead, the Raiders (2-3 overall) battled back to forge a 10-10 tie. But while trying to battled back from a 19-16 deficit following a Chris Ales kill, the Raiders committed three errors, including a rotation error, over four points to swing the momentum firmly in East's favor.
"I think what really kind of shut us down was all the rotation errors because it took our momentum. Even if we scored we'd lose a point," Ales said. "We've really got to focus and buckle down. We can't beat ourselves. We got caught on a lot of missed rotations, so we've got to know where we are, and if they do get a run on us we have to keep our heads up and play ourselves out of it."
Enrique Barajas served an ace to tie Game 3 at 4-4; moments later another rotation error gave Plainfield East a 6-4 lead. A Bengal service error drew the Raiders to within 7-6, but it was all East after that.
For a team that saw several seniors graduate and has just two on the current squad, the lesson of Monday's match was clear.
"It's never a guarantee. You always have to be ready. You always have to be fighting," said Ales, a junior. "No matter what happens we really have to stay focused.
"I think with more practice we can build a better team chemistry. A lot of last year's team was seniors so we have a real young team. There are only two returning starters so we just have to focus in and get everybody in the groove."
The Raiders went 2-2 and finished eighth overall at the Plainfield North invite last weekend, showing glimpses of what they are capable of while also showing some areas that need improvement.
"The two wins we had were amazing," Bercot said. "We flowed very well and were very confident. The two that we lost were kind of similar to this. We lost our confidence and second guessed ourselves all the time."