Despite a sluggish start, the Hays Rebel volleyball team did just enough Friday to secure a 25-23, 25-22, 25-10 win over the Austin Maroons at Bales Gym.
The win came on the heels of the Rebels’ straight-set upset of the district-leading Lake Travis Cavaliers a few days earlier.
While the team notched its third straight win in a row, Rebel head coach Stephanie Coates was concerned about the team’s effort early in the match.
“I thought our energy level was very poor in set one and set two. I felt like we were just going through the motions. I think after the big win against Lake Travis on Tuesday we were on the downhill of that emotional (game),” Coates said. “Set three, though, I thought we came out and I would say we were having fun because we were in system and running our faster game and were executing.”
Self-inflicted mistakes held Hays back from taking control of the first two sets; the Rebels edged Austin late in each set.
Sophomore outside hitter Madelyn Krafka was a bright spot for Hays by notching seven of her 10 kills on the night in the opening set. Senior outside hitter Catherine Croft also was a big contributor with nine kills in the match.
Due to sloppy play in the first two sets, Coates emphasized to her team that they needed to pick up the pace and to not take the Maroons lightly.
“I basically told them that slow volleyball is not fun, and right now we are playing a slow tempo and that is not our best,” Coates said. “We need to be disciplined, and that they were in charge of their energy and effort, because I don’t coach energy and effort. They needed to come out and make a change in the third set and they did.”
Hays responded by dominating the third frame. Senior Jamie Agnew and junior Sydney Collins had three kills each in the third set, while Croft dominated on the outside with four kills.
With three games left in the regular season, Hays is tied for third place with Bowie. The program is vying to secure its fourth straight playoff appearance in as many years.
“Right now it’s one match at a time,” Coates said. “We are going to go back and practice hard for Ann Richards on Tuesday. We want to practice on our energy and effort being consistent, and we want to act like every game is ‘that’ game so we are prepared when it is. And just keep working.”
Hays closes its home schedule Friday when it hosts rival Lehman at 6:30 p.m. at Bales Gym. The Rebels travel to Anderson to close the regular season Oct. 23.
District 25-6A volleyball standings as of Oct. 15
Lake Travis 13-2
Ann Richards 6-9
Del Valle 0-15