The notable rivalry between the GC and Flagler College volleyball teams resurfaced this past month after Flagler barely scraped out a win, but GC is preparing to take the victory in the next matchup on Oct. 19.
“The matches against Flagler are always super intense,” said head coach Gretchen Krumdieck. “It’s hard to keep everyone’s emotions in check sometimes because of the rivalry, but it’s a really fun match to coach. The girls know Flagler’s hitting tendencies and who to hit at on defense, so they actually retain what they learn and apply it to future matches.”
Last season, GC fell to Flagler in both PBC conference matches in five-set thrillers by splitting sets and losing by only two points in the final set. The team later claimed a tough 3-0 defeat in the PBC Championship.
Totaling 39 kills in the past three matches against the Saints, sophomore outside hitter Libby Bochniak has proven to be a dominant force on the court and has said she’s ready for the next matchup.
“Flagler is definitely one of the teams we focus on the most,” Bochniak said. “Our most recent loss really motivated us to make it a point to get an early lead. We all have to be ready to take on each position because Flagler’s talent is pretty evenly spread.”
After succumbing to the Saints on Sept. 22, the team took note on potential improvements and planned to utilize their newly acquired mindset in the upcoming match.
“We need to start off hot instead of immediately getting down 2-0 because that has been the trend of the past,” Krumdieck said. “If we come in strong and firing, we’ll be able to quiet them down. We’re taking the momentum we gained from last Flagler match and applying it to the next one.”
Senior middle blocker Taylor Svehla, with an average of 10.5 kills per game in her career against Flagler, recalled the excitement and anticipation that are always present before GC’s matches against the Saints and said she knows that the team can pull off the win if their mental game is on point.
“Team chemistry is something that we’ve really been working on lately,” Svehla said. “We’re getting better and better each day working together in practice, and that’s very exciting. Communication and trusting your teammates is a big factor in being successful on the court.”
GC and Flagler are fairly evenly matched this season with ample talent on both sides, so every conference game win is crucial to the PBC standings. Currently, GC is ranked No. 4 while Flagler holds the No. 5 position.
“It’s very important that we do well when we travel to play the next Flagler match because that helps us move up in the standings,” Krumdieck said. “In general, every conference match counts for something, but when Flagler’s having a good year and is competing at the top, it’s a really good win for us.”
Bochniak and Svehla agree that GC’s losses to Flagler only fuel the Bobcats’ fire to claim victory against one of their fiercest competitors.
“Being so close to winning in each match just gave us that extra motivation to work harder,” Bochniak said. “It would just be really great to secure the next win.”