MUNCIE – When Heidi Zickgraf took her second timeout of the first set Saturday night, the Delta Eagles knew they were playing poorly. The scoreboard, which read 17-13 in favor of visiting New Castle at the time, told them that.
But the coach wanted her team to really grasp just how many points it was giving away to the visiting Trojans. So she laid out the facts: 10 unforced errors — seven hitting and three serving.
For Delta, that message was heard loud and clear as the Eagles lost the next point but rebounded to take the final 12 points of the first set and then cruise to a 25-18, 25-21, 25-12 sweep in Hoosier Heritage Conference play.
Pulling out statistics in the middle of a match seemed to stick with the Eagles as middle hitter Camryn Campbell cited the number of errors after the victory when discussing the pivotal timeout.
“(Coach Zickgraf) just told us that it was time to go,” Campbell said. “Because it was only our second (match) of the season, she understood that we would start a little bit slower. … But 10 of their 17 points were on our errors.”
The match completely changed after that timeout as the Trojans (1-2, 0-1 HHC) had begun the match feeding 6-foot-2 middle hitter Avarie Powell (11 kills), but once the Eagles (2-0, 1-0) got the momentum, they never gave it back.
“We had 30 or 40 errors,” New Castle coach Matt Curts said, “and when you give a team 30 or 40 errors, that’s half the battle.”
Especially a team with the weapons that Delta has.
Setter Kelsee Roe (24 assists) spread around the Eagles’ attack to Chloe Stitt (nine kills), Audrey Woodin (eight kills) and Campbell (six kills).
Kaylee Nichols had four aces and was on the service line during the 12-0 run in the first set. During that stretch — and even the rest of the night — it seemed the Eagles could do no wrong, and obviously energy isn’t a problem during spurts like those. But for the Eagles, it’s about sustaining that.
“For us this year, I think energy is the key factor,” said libero Gabby Zgunda, a Mississippi State commit who had 16 digs. “Because we can pass, we can hit, we can do everything — but if we’re down, (it’s not good).”
On a larger scale, Zickgraf noticed something that she hopes becomes a trend.
“We were very good at making changes after game one — or in the middle of game one — and that’s not been the case in recent years,” Zickgraf said. “So I felt like they were pretty focused in making those changes and did a nice job.”
Contact sports features writer Ryan O’Gara at (765) 213-5829. Follow him on Twitter @RyanOGaraTSP.