Plenty of practice on Falcons agenda

CRASH THE NET: Forest Hill’s Aleena Domingo, with some help from #9, Isabel Moore, blocks Harbord Tiger Jade Chong’s shot.

During the holiday break, Forest Hill Falcons senior girls volleyball team will be taking part in some hardcore practice.

That’s what setter Xhulia Vangjeli said after her and teammate Isabel Moore discussed the 2-0 (27-25, 25-18) loss to Harbord Tigers Dec. 13.

“Whenever we can during the break or on our own with our own friends,” she said.

After a hard-fought first set, the second set presented a communication breakdown, one Vangjeli and Moore said sapped the fun from the sport.

“We lost our mental game and focus,” Moore said. “Volleyball is a psychological and physical game.”

Vangjeli agreed.

“We need to work on communication as a team on the court and off,” she said. “We don’t want to lose the good attitude we have on the court when we have a loss of a few points.”

Effective at the net was Aleena Domingo, who sent Tigers’ middles scrambling. Performing at full steam were servers Moore and Atusa Abdollahian, along with the blanketing of mid-court by Vangjeli.

The same core of girls won the Tier 2 title two years ago, coach Julmina Ibe said. Keeping that in mind, her charges can keep pace with any opposition that flies into their aerie.

“Skill wise, we’re there,” she said. “They are a senior team and are a group of great girls who commit a lot of time in school as well as outside of volleyball.”

Still, to improve on their current 1-2 record they need to keep the trust tying together the bond that’s been in place since grade 9.

“At the beginning of the first set, the girls did exceptionally well: they were communicating, moving, into the game,” Ibe said. “In the second set there was some breakdown, which resulted in missed balls.”

When 2011 comes, the Falcons may have to face the Tigers again.

Harbord’s coach, Bryan Gurney, said they’ll be ready – taking each game one step at a time.

“I think what worked for us today is they were very tough servers,” he said.

At the front of that attack: spiker Jane Chong, standout blocker Casey Davis-Jeremiah, server Christina Herrera-Enriquez and star setter Julie Wong.

“My number 14 is the best setter I’ve ever coached,” Gurney said of Wong. “She runs down more balls than I have ever seen anybody else run down.”

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