Going into their second season under head coach Karen Young, the Lehman Lobos volleyball team is looking to learn from their mistakes last year and build confidence in 2019.
In Young’s eyes, the biggest difference between last year and this season can be summed up in one word.
“Consistency,” Young said. “Consistency in those first ball touches and making sure we are able to handle it in some control and just understanding where we need to be.”
The Lobos have been hard at work over the summer to improve on their consistency across multiple facets of the game. Young said the team has focused on first ball passing, first ball contact, setting and serving over the course of their fall practices so far.
“We really worked on aggressive serving,” said Young. “Really being able to play serve and serving our angles.”
Senior leaders are also stepping up during early season practices, Young said. A core group of players return from the 2018 season.
“They’ve worked through a lot of those nerves last year,” Young said. “They know me already because this is my second year coming in. They know the coaching staff. They know our expectations, and just to have that coach on the court means so much.”
Seniors Trinity Simmons, Kalee Jackson, Ariana Sanchez, and junior Leah Lara are players who improved their skills this summer and have taken on a larger leadership role. For Simmons, she relishes the opportunity to be a leader for the Lobos.
“It means a lot, you have everybody looking up to you,” Simmons said. “You just have to go out and just show out.”
Lehman showed that progress Aug. 6 when they opened the season with a straight set 25-21, 25-14, 25-21 victory over the Crockett Cougars at the Lobo Den.
“It was huge,” Jackson said about winning the season-opener. “Mainly because compared to last year, to know the difference we’ve made throughout the year means a lot to win. To know that all our hard work has come through.”
Even though there were first game jitters and errors, the Lobos pulled through and showed consistency through each set. Lara finished the game with four blocks and three digs, while junior Isabella Mantilla had five aces and three kills.
Jackson was also a key contributor as she had three aces and one dig.
“The girls worked hard all summer, from the time that we finished season the last season and until this point,” Young said about the importance of starting the season off with a win. “It’s a great thing for them and a great thing for the program.”
Heading into the 2019 season, Young has several expectations for her team, but none bigger than working hard and having a positive attitude on the court.
“Just to keep a constant tempo,” Young said. “Come into each game with a winning attitude and knowing that we’re going to compete at every single game and every single day.”
Lehman travels to play at the Floresville tournament Aug. 15-17. They return home to play Austin Northeast High (formerly Reagan) Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.