by Matt Antonic
KANSAS CITY, MO -- MadFrog coach Nicky Bramschreiber expects a lot out of her 14 Elite side, and for good reason.
"They train hard,” she said. “I expect them to be in the lead, and when we’re not, it’s not usually reflective of what the other team is doing, it’s what’s happening on our side.”
Her expectations were met Saturday morning, and then some. Her club took care of business against the Milwaukee Sting in straight sets (25-18, 25-13), winning the second set convincingly as power pool play continued at the 2020 Triple Crown NIT.
MadFrog never even needed a devastating run to put their opponent away. The lead just kept steadily growing.
“Once we get a point, we just try to stay on top of it,” Avery Jackson said, “and really try to get the next point to build the momentum.”
Jackson’s play was strong all match, a matchup nightmare that the Sting could not answer. Her effort was demonstrative of the energetic style of play MadFrog likes to leave on the court.
“We are a high-pursuit team,” Bramschreiber said. “If the ball is on the floor, there better be a body there. We talk about staying on their feet versus being on the floor, but just maximizing the effort.”
There were bodies flying everywhere Saturday for MadFrog, countering everything the Sting tried to gain the upper hand, to no avail. MadFrog consistently used mini-runs of two and three points whenever the Sting began to knock on the door.
As the points kept rolling in, MadFrog continued to communicate well with each other, an aspect the team has been working to improve in training and matches.
“We were talking a lot,” said Avery Baughman. “It feels really good to get the win.”
“I try to be the loudest on the court,” Jackson added. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Jackson was certainly one of the loudest on the court against the Sting, with both her play and communication to her teammates. MadFrog forced multiple timeouts by the Sting as the first set neared an finale, a sign that the team’s high-pursuit approach was troubling its opponent.
While the win was satisfying, Bramschreiber still believes there is room for improvement in communication, a jump she would like to see made over the course of the NIT this weekend.
“I’ve seen games where they’ve done a better job of communicating," she said. "It’s hard to get girls to talk consistently. Having them understand the value of constant communication, that then should be exhausted when they come off the floor. If the only thing they do is talk the whole time, we’re really trying to get them to do that, the younger age groups.”