FRONT ROYAL – Skyline has shown that it can play with all the best teams in the region. Now assistant volleyball coach Kaitlin Erdman wants her team to take the next step – having a better mentality throughout a match.

The Hawks played even in spurts with cross-town rival and defending Region 3B champion Warren County on Tuesday night, but a couple of mental letdowns proved costly in the loss.

In both the first and third sets, the match was tight midway through, but each time the Wildcats used a big run to pull away.

“I think for us it was mentality,” Erdman said. “I think a lot of times when they go on a big run like that, we just kind of falter and we kind of fall down. I think the biggest thing for us is to learn to keep our energy up and that when we get the ball back, we can do the same thing. We can go on a run just the same as they can.”

Erdman is filling in for head coach Erika Berry, who is on maternity leave.

One big key in the loss to the Wildcats, according to Erdman, was the lack of energy from her team.

“I feel like (Tuesday) we came out and the energy just wasn’t there,” she said. “In the beginning, I felt like we were ready to go and we hung with them the first 6 points. And it was kind of point-for-point, and I felt like it was going to be an exciting game. And then they just started putting the ball in a lot of good spots. They placed the ball well, and we just didn’t hang with them. We didn’t do well moving (Tuesday).”

The Hawks were coming off their best win of the season, a 3-2 victory over Culpeper. The Blue Devils took Warren County to four sets earlier this season and are having a solid year.

Erdman said the team played much better against Culpeper.

“Against Culpeper, the energy was there,” Erdman said. “The girls came out. They were ready to play. They moved well. We played well. We talked as a team. We put it all on the court. And I think that’s what was lacking (Tuesday) was there was not enough energy (Tuesday) for us.”

The Hawks (5-11, 2-3 Class 3 Northwestern) were led Tuesday by Alana Smith and Shyla Schmitz with four kills each and Aaliyah Chunn with six blocks.

Skyline has two sophomores and a freshman to go along with five juniors and five seniors. Erdman said the team is still trying to find what works best for them to succeed.

“As a unit our girls are great,” Erdman said. “They get along. I think as far as on the court; we’re still just trying to find that combination of what works for us. We play well. We have a lot of hustle, but just finding that winning combination of what’s going to get us that ‘W.’”

Erdman said if her team can get that never-give-up mentality, it will be a big boost for them.

“I think the biggest thing for us – just to keep pushing and mentality,” Erdman said. “If we can get that mentality of it doesn’t matter if we’re up five or down five. The game doesn’t know statistics, so we have to play every point like it’s the last point.”

Erdman said she hopes her team has gained confidence in the last few weeks to realize they can play with anybody.

“I think our team has the talent,” Erdman said. “I think we’re just trying to figure out that winning combination of how do we put it all together? How does the puzzle fit? And that’s what we’re missing right now, is how to get those pieces together.”