Five wins over a three-day span ushered the Hays Rebels volleyball team to a third place overall finish at the Fraulein Volleyfest tournament in New Braunfels last weekend.
But Hays’ ability to solidify their lineup prior to the grueling district slate was equally as meaningful for head coach Stephanie Coates.
Coates said she was pleased with the progress of the program during the tournament as they began to find cohesion on the court. Helping that effort was the return of a handful of athletes who had been unable to play due to injury or family emergency.
While the Rebels (10-9) still battled some error issues, Coates said the team rebounded from miscues and kept getting stronger and stronger.
Highlighting it all was a fierce three set win over Lake Travis on Aug. 18, which was later followed by a two-set sweep of host New Braunfels to close the tournament.
“This tournament was the first time we could settle down into some lineups, especially on (Aug. 17),” Coates said. “It kind of came through and we put a stronger effort on the court.
But Coates also lauded her team’s resiliency, accentuated in a Gold bracket match against San Antonio O’Connor. In the first set of that match, Hays and O’Connor combined to score 64 total points.
“The kids, they are not letting go, even when their backs are against the wall,” Coates said. “They’re clawing for everything they can get. I like to see that competitiveness in them.
Providing guidance through the process are seniors Catherine Croft, Jamie Agnew and Kayla Tello, Coates said.
During the tournament, Croft “found her voice” as the team’s consummate leader, while the Rebels benefitted from Agnew’s continued versatility at the net and Tello’s effective ball control, Coates said.
Younger athletes have also shown growth over the past few weeks as well. Hays’ Brooke Sheely was consistent at the defensive specialist position, while freshman Joselyn Roberson has filled in at multiple positions on the court. Bridging it all was junior setter Ryann Torres, whose ability helps the Rebels keep a high tempo in the right situations, Coates said.
All of it will be called upon as the Rebels ready for life in the rough and tumble 25-6A.
Coates said the program will look to the team’s final tournament in Leander to work on finalizing its pace before district play ramps up.
“In a 10 team district, we have no choice if we’re prepared or not,” Coates said.
Hays hosts Bowie Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a trip to Westlake Aug. 31.