Going into the third game against Comeaux’s volleyball team Thursday, homestanding St. Thomas More needed a change in momentum.
The Cougars looked solid in the first game, winning 25-19. But they never led in the second game, ultimately losing 22-25.
Standing in a circle on the sideline after the second game, the Cougars began shouting at each other, the words getting louder and louder, and the chant becoming shriller: “I’m a beast.”
The results were tangible.
The Cougars went up 8-2 to begin the third game and went on to win the match 25-19, 22-25, 25-18, 25-11.
Cougars coach Jessica Burke said the shouting has been a tradition of her program since she started at STM, and it helps get the team fired up.
The chant, in addition to a lineup change, helped the Cougars lead through most of the third game, going on a five-point run late in the game to put them up 21-13 before winning 25-18.
“I’m proud of the way that we came back,” Burke said. “I think we had a slow start, but overall it was good.”
Everything clicked for the Cougars in the last game.
STM opened the fourth game by going up 4-0. The Spartans then picked up two points, but the fast-paced Cougars offense was too much for Comeaux.
STM went on a five-point run to go up 12-2, and Comeaux never recovered.
Burke said she was happy with her team’s defense but said they need to work on hitting around the block.
Comeaux coach Kristen Fabacher said her team has been doing well, but St. Thomas More is always a tough team to play. She said her team needs to work on control and passing going forward, with many of her team’s passes off target against STM.
“It was a tough loss,” Fabacher said. “They’re just a little faster than us. Their tempo’s quick.”
Burke said her only expectation for the season, a year removed from a Division II state championship, is to see the team improve.
“My expectations are just that we get better every time that we take the floor and that we develop chemistry as a team.
“That we develop team confidence,” Burke said.