Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.

Charleston middle hitter Addison Shrader thought her team had a great chance to beat Effingham (3-9) Thursday night and finally get into the win column.

But news broke early in the morning that the Trojans would be without key players for the contest, which altered the game plan.

The Trojans, subsequently, succumbed to the Hearts in two sets, 25-13, 25-16, which extended their losing streak to 11 matches to start the season.

“It was very unexpected,” Shrader said. “We got the text this morning our starting setter, our starting two outsides were going to be gone.”

Shrader said the team has been working to find its identity so losing key members of the team didn’t help.

“We have been struggling with getting our rhythm in the first place,” She said. “When those key players are gone, it sets everything back. Trying to get everything back when you’re freaking out about who’s going to be there, what positions they’re going to play, and come to the game not knowing where everyone was going to be.”

The junior said once the team can find continuity things should settle down.

“When we get those things going, and we understand we can’t help people being sick, then I think we’ll have a lot better going,” she said. 

Shrader, though, said teammates got experience in positions that they’re not accustomed, which should strengthen the team.

“We kind of thought ‘Let’s try this’ and mix it up more hitting wise,” she said. “I think we did a pretty good job. We started off rough, but we definitely fought back with those people. Once we got those serves and passes, we were able to move our hitters around. That’s all what we truly wanted to do was get our hitters involved. We weren’t coming in thinking we were going to be 100 percent in missing all these people. Once we started going ‘OK, we need to help more with this because this is what people are struggling with’ we were like ‘We’re fine. This is just a game that we need to have fun and relax.”

Shrader sees the improvement in CHS.

“We’re getting there,” she said. “It’s frustrating. I think it’s because people are getting down on themselves. I truly believe that once we figure out this little hiccup that we’re going through, we’re going to be good. We’re going to put up some wins. We’re not getting completely blown out by some of these good teams. Once we start to figure out what we need to do and figure out what works best for our team and what we have on the court, then we’ll be fine.”

Shrader said the one key element the Trojans need to work on is their passing.

“Our passing is a little rocky,” she said. “We have really good days, then we have really bad days. You definitely can tell by the scores what days those were. We have amazing front row hitters and an amazing setter. Once we figure things out, teams are going to be very scared that the underdogs are going to come back through.”