The Mineral Wells volleyball team’s season started Wednesday with a tri-match against Millsap and Saginaw, and Lady Rams found out they have some catching up to do if they want to get on the right side of the win column.
“I thought we looked good at times when we went to set up a play,” coach Sheridan Willard said. “That was the frustrating part was seeing us perform well on a couple of plays and then turn around and mess up several in a row.”
Communication is currently the Lady Ram’s most significant issue as Willard is dealing with a very young team which is “thinking” and sometimes Mineral Wells overthinks and at other times, not enough.
Against Millsap, things looked good early as the two teams were tied 9-9 in the first set and the Lady Rams were staying in contention; however several communication gaps allowed the Lady Bulldogs to pull out front 15-9. Millsap then went on a 10-5 run to win the first set 25-14.
Mineral Wells kept showing flashes of potential in the second game after being down 5-1 and finding a way to pull to within two points 15-13. Another run (10-4) by Millsap was aided by several unforced mistakes from the Lady Rams who continued to stay motivated despite some problems setting up their offensive attack.
“I think it was a combination of first-game nervousness and not communicating with each other that hurt us the most,” Willard said. “These are things you overcome with experience, and right now, we don’t have a whole lot of experience. The only way we are going to get experience is to go out and play games.”
Mineral Wells’ pattern of playing well midway through a game continued in the third stanza with a 10-8 score turning into a 25-17 final.
“It wasn’t our best showing, but I saw some positives,” Willard said. “When we did communicate as a team and move into position for blocks, we played well. Nerves got to us, but that’s to be expected with young players.”
The Lady Rams did much better against 5-A Saginaw with 25-19 and 25-20 scores in games two and three.
“I think the first loss against Millsap was still resonating a little bit in our first game against Saginaw, but we rebounded and played two solid second and third games,” Willard said.
Willard will take improvement wherever she finds it, and until her charges start communicating, she knows it will be a struggle.
“I’m honestly not worried about it,” Willard said. “I know what we are capable of doing, and once we build chemistry and start communicating better we are going to be fine.”
This year’s varsity squad includes Kenzie Lawhon, Jessie Ishmael, Hailey Tincher, Paige Riney, Sasha Kirsch, BreAnna Hunt, Sidney Dow, Taylor Gary, Reagan Carter, Trista Hopper, Brooklyn Ellis and Meagan Waldrum.