A focus on doing the little things right helped the Lakeland College Rustlers men's volleyball team to their second straight win.
The Rustlers (3-5) used a dominant opening and closing set to beat the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder 25-19, 25-23 and 25-20 at the Lakeland Gym on Friday night.
The Thunder (2-4) fought back from an early 5-1 deficit to take a commanding 18-15 lead in the second set, only to give up seven late points on a spike and subsequent serve by Rustlers libero Matt Peck for the middle frame loss.
"We managed to stay calm, and like Tay (Rustlers head coach Taylor Dyer) said, we did the little things right and that was the difference," said Jose Areliano, a second-year Rustlers setter from El Progreso, Honduras.
"When we get too rattled up it doesn't work for us. (So, we) take a breath in the huddle and just do the little things right and the points will come with that."
Areliano said the team rode the momentum gained from the second-set comeback to score a quick 9-3 lead in the third, but a tendency to make unforced errors allowed the visiting side to tie the game 12-12.
He said they were able to refocus, get the ball back, and finally put away the Thunder by returning to that calm demeanour.
"We're getting better every game," said Rustlers libero Abner Jean Carlo Funez Raudales, who hails from Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
"We're getting more together, more energetic and more comfortable with (each other). The practices have been tough, but you can see the reward now. We're winning and that's what we want."
Raudales said the main area that still needs some work is staying focused on the task at hand during a game's ups and downs. He said they'll have to get to that level next weekend while on a two-game trip to Keyano College against the top-ranked Huskies (6-0), if they hope to come out with another win.
"We have to keep it out of our heads that it's an away game because we've struggled with that in the past," added Areliano.
"If we get a good pass, a good set and we get a good swing, we should be alright. It's mental. If we play it as we played today we'll for sure win, but we are definitely aiming higher."
Jamie Harkins, Meridian Booster