By TONY EIERDAM
Hoping to get back on the winning track after a loss in four games last Friday at Lake Worth, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams volleyball team will host first-place and state-ranked No. 14 Springtown at 6 p.m. today in a District 6-3A match at the MWHS gym.
The loss on Friday dropped the Lady Rams to 3-4 and in sole possession of fourth place – the final playoff spot – while Lake Worth moved to 4-3 and in sole possession of third place.
However, fourth place in District 6-3A is not a desirable position to be in heading into the first round of the playoffs. The fourth-place team from 6-3A will likely face No. 11 Iowa Park – currently leading District 5-3A.
After playing Springtown, the Lady Rams will conclude 6-3A play with a home match Friday against winless Diamond Hill and at Castleberry, a team MWHS handled in three games in the previous meeting, on Oct. 29.
Lake Worth still has Springtown and Kennedale left on its schedule and the Lady Frogs end their district slate against Diamond Hill.
With this scenario, the Lady Rams could go 2-1 in their last three matches, and in the likelihood Lake Worth goes 1-2 the two teams will end the district season at 5-5 and tied for third place, meaning possibly a tiebreaker match could be set up to determine third and fourth places.
A Lady Rams’ win over Springtown today could meann the difference between third and fourth place for MWHS.
After losing 11 seniors off last year’s area-qualifying team, the Lady Rams have used younger players on varsity, including a freshman who was moved up for district play.
Setter Sami Hickey has at times looked like a seasoned veteran as she stepped in to take the place of injured second setter Riley Bullock, who is said to be out for the season.
Hickey saw her first extended playing action last week at Kennedale.
“Sami got a lot more playing time in our match at Kennedale and I feel she did a great job,” Lady Rams head coach Taylor Eggleston said. “She hustles, and as a freshman she played pretty good against a good Kennedale team.
“Playing varsity level volleyball is definitely an adjustment and there is room for improvement, but she knows that.
“She stepped up and contributed when her playing time increased. She was a consistent setter earlier in the year on the JV level, and I feel she has translated that on the varsity level.
“She did well in other areas against Kennedale and (Friday) against Lake Worth as well. She got all of her serves in, and she was consistent as far as setting is concerned.
“The speed of the game on varsity is different, but as she plays more up here she will get that down and it will come naturally for her.”
Hickey will get a chance again at extended playing time today against the first-place Lady Porcupines.