Seymour volleyball team harnesses emotion

Sep. 10, 2013 @ 09:10 AM

 Mendy Maxwell and her teammates nearly smile their way to victories.

The contrast was sharp last week between Maxwell’s Seymour Eagles and visiting Morristown East. While the hosts shrugged off errors, the Hurricanes seemed to be burdened by them. By the time East had dropped the second set, the match appeared lost.

“In volleyball you have to play with emotion but you have to learn to control your emotion,” said Seymour coach Erin Biddle. “I think that they’re really working on controlling their emotions.”

Channeling that emotional energy has helped the Eagles into rare territory. Seymour is in control after an unbeaten start to district play highlighted by that 3-0 sweep of the Hurricanes. The Eagles will put their perfect mark on the line tonight when they host Sevier County.

If the Bearettes are to pull the upset, they’ll have to find a way to knock Seymour off its steady game. There are no wild swings during a match for the Eagles. It’s consistent, positive energy.

“Our motto is ‘Fake it ‘til we make it,’ ” said Eagles libero Breanna Green. “If they start getting on top of things we’ve got to fake it until we get back on top.”

For two sets on Thursday, Green and company didn’t have to fake much. In a sport of runs, Seymour didn’t let the Hurricanes get on one. The Eagles maintained a lead, occasionally allowing East to get within one before reeling off a bundle of points to take command.

When that third set came around, Seymour jumped out to an 8-3 advantage. Six straight points left little doubt not only that the Eagles would win, but that they would sweep.

The Hurricanes were helpless, victims of Seymour’s killer instinct.

“When I see someone who has made a couple bad passes and they’re getting mad at themselves, I’m going to hit it right at them,” Maxwell said. “If they make another bad pass they’re just digging themselves in more of a hole. I definitely see them and take advantage of it and hit it at them.”

It’s the cruel side of the emotion that the Eagles have harnessed. They’ve learned not to be on the other end of it, rallying from a fourth-set loss to Jefferson County on Aug. 29 to win in five.

When things go bad, Seymour doesn’t get irritated.

“Fake it ‘til you make it,” Maxwell said.

“No matter how bad you feel inside or how mad you are at yourself, fake it ‘til you make it so your team can succeed and win like we just did.”