Cleveland Lady Raiders get caught in headlights of speeding Lady Owls
by By RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor
Sep 05, 2012 | 539 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CLEVELAND LIBERO Eva Wilhelm sets the ball in front of outside hitter Haley Hodgson during Game 3 against Ooltewah Tuesday, at Cleveland. The Lady Raiders fell to the Lady Owls 3-1. Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
CLEVELAND LIBERO Eva Wilhelm sets the ball in front of outside hitter Haley Hodgson during Game 3 against Ooltewah Tuesday, at Cleveland. The Lady Raiders fell to the Lady Owls 3-1. Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
slideshow
As her volleyball team switched benches between games two and three with Ooltewah, Cleveland coach Patricia Flowers huddled with her assistant coaches in an effort to try and find a way to spark the Lady Raiders.

The strategy devised by the trio failed to produce dividends and the Lady Owls flew back home with a 3-1 sweep of Cleveland.

“The biggest thing we talked about was getting them to communicate on the court,” said a frustrated Flowers. “They say a lot and they do not execute it on the court. It comes from their mouth and it doesn’t reach to their heart.

“That’s our biggest problem. Yes, we’re young. But, even with the freshmen and sophomores on the court, we can beat anybody.”

The Lady Raiders dropped the first game 25-16 and after taking a 6-0 lead to open Game 2 spiraled to a loss by the same margin. The 25-8 finale left Flowers wondering what happened to the team that pushed Soddy-Daisy to the brink.

“You’re guess is a good as mine,” said the exasperated coach. “I don’t know. They are just not gelling as a team right now. One day we’re gelling as a team and the next day we’re not. To be honest, I’d say it’s a little bit of immaturity, it’s a little bit of inexperience and it’s a little bit of just not being willing to make the sacrifices it takes to be a winning team.”

Flowers said she doesn’t feel the Lady Raiders were fearful of the perennial power, rather they just could not find a way to focus.

“I don’t think we’ve played fearful of Ooltewah since the first couple of years I’ve coached. I didn’t sense they were afraid. From the very get-go I didn’t have a good feeling because they were not focused. They weren’t together as a team,” said Flowers as the equipment was being dismantled.

“We can talk to them until we are blue in the face. There is only so much we as coaches can do. They’ve got to step up.”

The Lady Raiders must step up quickly in order to avoid their second loss in a two-day span. Cleveland will travel to Bradley Central Thursday for a district 5-3A meeting with the Bearettes.

“We play Bradley on Thursday and we’re going to get our faces pounded in if they play like that,” said Flowers.