By Moses Leos III
Cohesive team play in critical moments meant success for the Hays Lady Rebels last weekend.
A 6-3 mark over the course of three days led the Lady Rebels to finish sixth out of 32 teams and in the gold bracket at the Fraulein Volleyfest tournament, held in New Braunfels Aug. 18-21.
Working as a team allowed Hays to click during the course of the tournament, Hays High senior defensive specialist Anais LaHue said.
“(The tournament) went well and we worked as a team. It hasn’t been like that for a while,” LaHue said. “There were some parts where we didn’t, but when we did, we were doing good things.”
Hays’ run during the tournament had them square off against a variety of volleyball powers, including Leander Rouse, and League City Clear Creek, which reached the 6A regional quarterfinals in 2015.
After dropping its first game of the tournament to San Antonio Brennan, Hays won the next five matches, which included wins against Round Rock, Rouse and Pasadena Memorial. Hays capped of its win streak with a three-set victory over Westwood, which Hays head coach Stephanie Coates said was “one of the best defensive teams around.”
Coates said her team continued to progress from its run at the Texas Volleyball Invitiational tournament in Pearland. She said the difference was the Lady Rebel’s ability to win matches that went to three sets.
The Lady Rebels went 3-1 in matches that went to three sets during the tournament.
“We were in situations where we went three (sets) in a lot of situations and didn’t come out on top,” Coates said. “This week we flipped those tables.”
Coates said she was proud of the team’s competitiveness and intensity during th course of the weekend.
She said the team improved on the defensive end, as the team’s serve-receive percentages increased. Coates also lauded the team’s ability to pass successfully, along with aggression from the team’s hitters.
“We did a great job to get opportunities to swing on the ball, whether we were in system, or out-of-system,” Coates said, who added an overall team effort led to success.
Hays progressed to the gold bracket on Saturday, but “ran out of steam” as the Rebels dropped matches to Clear Creek and New Braunfels.
“Steam comes from physical steam, but also mental steam. We haven’t been in the gold bracket before and we haven’t felt that pressure before,” Coates said. “I think it can handicap you when you’re first learning to deal with it. We’ll grow from that situation, which I’m excited about.”
As the school year begins, Coates said the focus becomes staying focused, along with maintaining the cohesive play.
LaHue said the experience of the last two tournaments will help as the Lady Rebels enter district play.
“In district, we’re going to see all of these tough teams,” LaHue said. “Going through that is going to help us when we get to that point.”
See more photos here. (photos by Moses Leos III)