By Taylor Grafft
With the Liberty Hill Lady Panthers Varsity volleyball team a week away from opening District play against Lampasas, Head Coach Gretchen Peterson believes the team’s next few matches will play a vital role in preparing for bigger challenges down the road.
“We’re really going to work on consistency,” said Coach Peterson. “We’ve got to cut down the number of unforced errors, missed serves and hitting errors. In District it’s a brand new season and everybody comes out in a different mindset and those can come back to really hurt you.”
Against Bangs on Tuesday, the Lady Panthers were moving the ball rather well and linking up for good kills. The team seemed to be playing loose and having a lot of fun out on the court, which led to a dominate 3-0 (25-16, 25-6, 25-16) win. “I think sometimes we played too relaxed,” Coach Peterson said. “It got a little sloppy at times. We needed to execute and look a little crisper on things, but overall it’s a good win. We got a lot of playing time for everybody, so we really got to fine-tune some things heading into District and that’s what we want these last few games to be about. We still need to work on intensity more, but overall it was a good win.”
The biggest challenge for the Panthers will be remaining mentally tough in District play.
“We have to be mentally focused, crisper, and execute more,” Peterson said. “I think if we keep pushing the tempo and really work on ball control that will definitely play in our favor. Those are the types of things we’ll be focusing on these last few games to prepare.”
Kallie Perrin was the leader and most dominate player on the court against Bangs. She did well to combine with Jaycie Pluenneke, Jill Green, and Peyton Redmond for key offensive plays.
“I thought Kallie (Perrin) moved the ball around really well,” Peterson said. “Her and Jaycie (Pluenneke) connected on some really key quick attacks in the front row.”
In the first game against Bangs, Liberty Hill started out with a 4-2 lead following a kill by Peyton Redmond. Then another kill by Redmond made it 6-4.
After taking a 7-6 lead, the Lady Panthers went on a 9-0 run to make it 16-6. Bangs battled back to make it 16-10 before a dump shot by Kallie Perrin helped put Liberty Hill up 17-10.
A hitting error by Bangs caused the Panthers to take a 19-12 lead. Then Redmond’s kill made it 21-14. An unforced error by Bangs made it 23-15 and caused them to call a timeout to reorganize.
The Panthers finished off game one with a kill by Redmond and took the 25-16 first set victory.
In the second game, the Lady Panthers were nothing short of dominant. They were passing the ball around well and hitting their shots with precision.
After falling behind 0-1, the Panthers went on a 8-0 run and jumped out to a 8-1 lead. A kill by Jaycie Pluenneke gave Liberty Hill a 9-2 lead, before a dump shot by Perrin increased the lead to eight points. An ace by Pluenneke and back-to-back kills by Redmond and Perrin made it 16-3.
The Lady Panthers were really clicking and having fun out on the court. Jill Green’s block made it 19-4, before another kill by Mason Sharp made it 24-6.
The second game ended with a Liberty Hill 25-6 victory and two game advantage over Bangs.
In the third and final game, Liberty Hill got off to a slow start and allowed Bangs to keep it close before pulling away.
A kill by Pluenneke allowed the Panthers to pull ahead 4-3 after being tied 3-3. A missed serve by Bangs put Liberty Hill on top 8-5 a little later on in the set. The Lady Panthers went on a 6-0 run and forced Bangs to call a timeout to try and kill the momentum.
A kill by Jill Green made it 16-7. Bangs started to cut the lead closer when it became 19-11, but back-to-back kills by Pluenneke made it 21-11. Bangs cut the lead to six, but the Lady Panthers dug deep and held off the late push and took a 25-16 third set victory and the match, 3-0.