After opening the season with a home loss against Whittell High, the Mineral County High volleyball team (1-1) traveled to Big Pine, Calif. where it handily defeated the Warriors, 3-1, on Sept. 14.
The Lady Serpents took the first game, 25-21; lost the second, 26-25; then won the next two, 25-18 and 25-20.
There was no junior varsity contest in Big Pine.
The key to the victory was better serving, an area where the Lady Serpents have thus far struggled, said coach Shelley Tweedy. In the 3-0 loss against Whittell on Sept. 9, the Lady Serpents struggled to serve the ball over the net and inbounds, a problem that practice seems to have, in part, rectified.
“They served at a much higher level,” Tweedy said. “It was a competitive game. The Big Pine team, boy they never quit. They really fought hard.”
Against Whittell, about 40 percent of the Lady Serpents serves crossed the net. In Big Pine, that number increased to about 70 percent, Tweedy said.
Tweedy said the team played with an energy she hasn’t seen in several games.
“They didn’t play flat that like have been playing,” she said. “They gave me a full game every single game, and that’s what we needed.”
Kelsey Viani-Wittwer, senior, had five kills in the first game and three aces; Ada Williams, senior, had three kills in the first game, four in the second, and three in the third game and three aces; Alexa McFalls had three kills in game two and three saves; Kaylie Hawk had four aces in total, including two in the game two loss.
Tweedy also said that Hawk and Tierra McFalls set very well, and Danielle Wilson had great court coverage and several impressive digs.
Unfortunately the season opener at home didn’t go as well for the Lady Serpents. It dropped the match to Whittell , 3-0.
The final score of the first game was 20-25; the second 25-14; and the third 25-16.
“Our first game went really, really good,” Tweedy said. “Good offense, good defense, good court coverage. They went a little flat the second game.”
A number of factors hampered the Serpents during that contest, Tweedy said. Its primary problem was serving.
“If we can’t increase our service, we’re going to struggle,” Tweedy said after the Whittell match. “So, our next couple of practice we’ll be working on our service.”
The team played with much less energy in the second two games.
“We just need more effort,” Viani-Wittwer said. “The girls, they’re just standing too much.”
Tweedy also said there was a coaching error in the third game.
Before each game coaches submit a list of starting players to the officials in the order in which the starters will serve. Throughout the match there was discussion between the coaches and officials about something involving the lists.
But, even in the midst of defeat, there were some signs of improvement.
“Our teamwork was a lot better than it has been in the past. A lot better,” Viani-Wittwer said. “We’re coming together more. We don’t fight as much.”
In the third game, Mineral County’s list of servers was submitted backward, Tweedy said. The error forced the Lady Serpents to play out of position.
“They still didn’t play too bad,” Tweedy said of her team. “So the third game, we’ll chock that one up to a coaching error.”
The junior varsity also played against Whittell. It won its game, 3-0.
The Lady Serpents were back in action in a non-conference rematch against Big Pine, in a game played on Tuesday. The next game will be Sept. 20 against Excel Christian High in Hawthorne.