JAY DAVIS:Three nights, three different emotional mindsets
Ah, the emotions of the game. We got to see a lot of them over the course of a busy sports week for the Tigers and Lady Tigers.
The Lady Tigers were a lesson in sports psychology. They had three very different nights on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
Every night is different, but one thing is same. After four straight state tourney appearances, the Lady Tigers are a team with a big bullseye on their collective backs. Everyone is fired up and ready to play their best against them.
While the Lady Tigers completed the job at hand on Saturday and won their third straight Mobridge-Pollock Invitational championship, it did not come on the heels of an outstanding performance.
In fact, the Lady Tigers were lucky to beat the Lady Panthers from Timber Lake. The Panthers were pumped. They played athletic and they played hard. It took nine overtime points for the Lady Tigers to win the first set and only when Timber Lake had back-to-back errors did Mobridge-Pollock eke out a 25-23 win in the final set.
Saturday’s emotion was relief.
On Monday the Lady Tigers were the team they wish they could be every time they lace up their volleyball shoes. Against cross-county rival Herreid-Selby Area, the girls were on top of their game from the first serve to the last. They were aggressive on offense and on defense. A very good Wolverine club was behind the Lady Tiger eight ball all night.
Monday’s emotions were confidence and exuberance.
Everything unraveled on Tuesday in Groton. The Lady Tigers had nothing left during their sixth match in four days. They let Groton jump out quickly and never have to look back over their shoulders, because no onrushing train was going to head their way.
Actually, winning and playing well in Groton was not to be expected. Experienced 22-year-old college seniors would have a hard time being mentally and physically prepared to take on a good team on the road after such a busy weekend and Monday schedule.
Tuesday’s emotion was, well, it was drained.
But, it was a good learning experience for the girls. If they put Tuesday in perspective and learn from it, they will only get stronger and better.