By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
Near misses. Small margins. Mental mistakes.
All three have been marks of this volleyball season.
But so have dominant victories, especially following last weekend’s 2-1 performance at the Lubbock Christian University Chap Classic.
Not only did the Wildcats take two of three matches, but they defeated both Loyola (La.) and Wayland Baptist 3-0, and hold a 7-4 overall record.
Both players and coaches were disappointed with the 3-1 loss to LCU.
“It was a frustrating game, but it allowed us to see what we needed to prepare for the teams in our conference,” said Haylee Hartline, who had 22 kills in a losing effort against the Chaps. “They are as good of a team as any in our conference. We just had a ton of unforced errors and need to work on our blocking and defense.”
Head coach Brek Horn agreed.
“I felt like we had opportunities in both the first and second games to win the match,” Horn said. “When it comes to the crucial situations, we are going to need to get better at putting the ball away.”
The Wildcats led LCU in the first game, but were unable to put the Chaps away and eventually lost 30-26. After dropping the second game 30-28, the Wildcats won 30-28 in game three, but were unable to hold off LCU in the fourth and final game, 30-22.
With solid play from freshman outside hitter Michelle Bernhardt, the Wildcats easily defeated Loyola, 30-24, 30-28, 30-23, and took care of Wayland Baptist in three games, 30-28, 30-21, 30-23. Bernhardt led the Wildcats in kills in both matches, 12 against Loyola and 14 against Wayland Baptist.
Horn said her team is ready to take on LSC South foes Eastern New Mexico and West Texas A&M this next weekend, two teams the Cats were behind in the LSC South pre-season poll.
“I know that Eastern New Mexico has already lost to both Tarleton State and Texas A&M-Kingsville, so they are vulnerable,” Horn said. “I’d love to take both wins on the road this weekend, but I know that is going to be a very difficult task.”
Horn said her young team just needs to stay consistent.
“I think we are doing a lot of things right,” Horn said. “Once we get more consistent, I think we will be a team that is very solid.”