Prep Volleyball: Lincoln defeats Danville in first district match
Arienne Stephens (23) and Jessica Olsen of Lincoln County go up to block a tip by Danville's Sam May during the second set of Lincoln's win Tuesday. (Mike Marsee / August 22, 2012)
The loss of four key players to graduation left some holes in the lineup, but Lincoln has done its best to pull together and fill the gaps in the five weeks since preseason volleyball practice.
The Patriots say that will be a work in progress for some time, but the work paid dividends Tuesday night as they defeated Danville 25-12, 25-15, 25-14 in their first 45th District match of the season.
Breyanna Hoover, one of three seniors on this season’s team, said many of the girls have been playing together for some time, but they have also been used to playing with those who are now gone.
“It took a while to get us all where we’re comfortable playing together, but we’re finally getting there,” Hoover said. “Mostly we played with them forever, and we just weren’t comfortable around each other and we never talked. We’ve (made) a lot of progress on that.”
Lincoln coach Amanda Massey-Wiles agreed that Lincoln (2-2, 1-0 district) has made considerable progress in the area of communication.
“That has come very far. That’s been our biggest focus, because volleyball is a game of communication,” Massey-Wiles said. “The Olympics really got people excited about volleyball again this summer, and even the Olympic teams, if they break down in communication, they break down. It’s something we’ve been focusing on a lot and they’ve been getting better every day. We still have a ways to go, but we’re getting better all the time.”
Massey-Wiles said the Patriots looked better in other areas as well.
“I think we focused a lot on working with consistent ball-playing, just working together with teamwork, strengthening our offense by starting with a good pass. That’s what we’ve been focusing on in practice, and they executed here, so we were pleased with that,” she said.
“The key was to get all our passes to the setter and to make no errors and to get all our spikes and attacks in,” Hoover said.
Lincoln made quick work of the first set, stretching a 4-0 lead to 13-5, then 18-7. Danville (0-7, 0-2) took a 2-1 lead in the second set and was still within 17-12, when the Patriots called timeout, then outscored the Admirals 8-3 to finish the game.
Lincoln rallied once more in the third set after Danville wiped out its 4-1 lead. The Patriots trailed 10-7, then scored seven straight points to take control and were never threatened again.
“We just all said, ‘Shake it off. We got it,’ and we just shook it off and played our game,” Hoover said.
Danville coach Melissa Howard declined to comment on the match, while Lincoln’s Massey-Wiles said fighting off the Admirals was a matter of taking care of business on offense.
“Danville was scrapping, they’re a scrappy team, so we had to work to get our offense executed properly so we could score, and I think we did that pretty well,” Massey-Wiles said.
She said she is happy that there are nearly seven weeks of the season left for her team to come together, and she’s happy that the Patriots are starting to do that.
“We graduated out a lot of strong seniors last year. Fortunately, we have a lot of strong girls coming forward, too, that are excited to lead and excited to work together,” Massey-Wiles said.
“It’s been an adjustment over the course of the summer, and we’re still working on that, but they are jelling well together, and we’ve got a lot of talent and a lot of great attitudes and good work ethics that I think are really working well for us and hopefully will pay off over the course of the season.”