Colonials stay positive after losses to top volleyball teams


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By Jeff Appelblatt

Following the recent loss to the rival team from Colts Neck High School, Freehold High School boys’ volleyball coach Ryan Walkiewicz was ready to say his team could compete with almost anyone.

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While the Cougars defeated the Colonials for the second time this year, it was a hard-fought battle.

“Ability-wise, our guys could compete with just about any team in the Shore [Conference],” the coach said.

Walkiewicz admitted that Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) and Southern Regional High School may be on another level.

Even though the score wound up 2-0 in the recent loss to Colts Neck — as it did in the season opener between the teams — Freehold challenged the Cougars from start to finish, finishing on the lower ends of 25-22 and 25-23 sets.

“We’ve lost to tough teams: two to Colts Neck, one to CBA , one to Donovan Catholic [High School],” Freehold’s coach said. “They’re all teams well-above .500.”

But in keeping close with teams on their levels, Walkiewicz manages to stay positive despite the losses.

“I think the losses completely motivate the guys,” he said. “After a loss, they know they’ll put in the effort to rebound.”

Losses this year haven’t been followed by more losses.

“We were 1-2 before we lost to CBA [April 10],” the coach said. “We went on a four-game winning streak.”

The loss to CBA followed two wins after the first loss to Colts Neck. The loss to Donovan Catholic was after the four consecutive victories Walkiewicz mentioned.

Two matches prior to facing Colts Neck for the second time, the Cougars (10-3) were beaten for the first time this year. Howell High School defeated them, 2-1, April 24 in Colts Neck.

Freehold, meanwhile, handled Howell, 2-0, early in the season. The Colonials hoped that could all work in their favor, but that didn’t work out.

It also didn’t help the Colonials that they were without Dan Cutaneo in the rematch with Colts Neck. However, Freehold’s coach just wanted to think of the positives, one of which would set his team up with another faceoff with the Cougars.

“Honestly, I think [our] guys would love to, down the road, maybe in a Shore Conference game or something like that, see Colts Neck one more time and see what we could do against them,” Freehold’s coach said.

Freehold faced Howell (5-3) May 2 and will take on CBA (12-4) May 4 in Freehold at 4 p.m.

No matter how good Walkiewicz thinks CBA is, he won’t count his guys out beforehand.

“With volleyball, a couple of weird hops [or] a couple of weird plays, [and] things could swing a game real quick,” he said.

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