Teams taking their knocks in early-season tournaments

Posted Monday, Aug. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Four of the five Mansfield ISD schools took part in the Northwest ISD Volleyball Classic last weekend, and all of them came away feeling they should have done better. A week after finishing fourth in the Sunrise Rotary Volleyball Tournament, Timberview produced only a pair of wins against six losses in the NISD event.

“We didn’t do well in this tournament,” head coach Beth Wills said. “I really wasn’t pleased with how we did. I just didn’t feel like we played as well as we did last weekend.”

Wills had seen significant improvement in her club from the beginning of camp through the MISD tournament, but felt like that growth leveled off with last week’s performance.

“Our court movement was not good. I didn’t feel like we competed for every point like we had before,” Wills said. “We had some great spurts and made some great plays and did well in some areas, but unless you’re competing on every point in every match – that’s not really what we’re headed towards.”

Though the level of competition was formidable, Wills felt the Lady Wolves were their own worst enemy.

“That was probably the most disappointing thing, that our unforced errors went up again … It shows we’ve got to be more mentally tough. At some point, you’re going to have a lull and you’re going to lose several points in a row. You’ve got to know how to handle that.”

Despite the weekend disappointment, Wills sees plenty of upside for her squad.

“I think we’re not quite where we need to be yet,” she said. “I think the kids see it, so hopefully that will give them some motivation to keep working on it. Nobody is quitting or giving up. Everyone is still hopeful. They see what is possible and that’s what I like about them.”

The Lady Wolves will compete in the Arlington Invitational this weekend.

One of the teams to beat Timberview was crosstown rival Legacy. The Lady Broncos ended the weekend with four wins and four losses. For a team still gaining chemistry under new coach Amanda Shingleton, perhaps the most positive thing was the club’s competitive spirit.

“It was a challenging tournament for us, but we competed,” Shingleton said. “I feel like we’re in a different place than we were [the previous week in the MISD tournament], for sure. We definitely moving in the right direction. We still have things to work on and some connection issues still with our middles. But other than that, we saw some improvements in areas that we needed to see it.”

The squad was lifted by impressive wins over Hereford and Aledo, but even as the win column grows more slowly than some might hope, Shingleton feels the difficult early season slate is paying off where it matters most.

“This is a challenging preseason schedule we have,” she said. “We’re playing higher-level teams early. So, we’re not compiling a ton of wins, but we’re compiling a lot of experience and we’re playing at a much higher level than we were early on.”

Shingleton praised the performances of middle blockers Sam Eaton and Amanda Lanter, who continue to improve. She also noted that libero Shelby Stewart had another solid weekend.

The Lady Broncos head out of town this weekend for a tournament in San Marcos. Shingleton feels like it will be a good teambuilding opportunity off the court for her girls as the improvement continues inside the gym.

“We just have to refine some things and clean up some things.”

Mansfield High struggled in pool play at the NISD event, picking up just a single victory before winning a pair of matches in consolation bracket play.

“We lost to two pretty good teams on Thursday, but we didn’t play real well at all this weekend,” head coach Judith McGill said. “Kind of sloppy and just not executing very well. We were in tight ball games but just weren’t able to finish.”

Most frustrating to McGill was a lack of effort at times.

“I don’t think we played hard and as a coach that’s totally unacceptable,” she said.

It wasn’t all negative for the Lady Tigers, though. McGill feels like a lot of the team’s inconsistency comes from youth and inexperience in the squad.

“I’ve got some young kids out there and we’re still trying to find our way a little bit. When everything comes together we’re going to be OK,” she said.

McGill noted that the team’s passing was better this weekend and praised the defensive effort.

“We just can’t finish a game right now. When we iron out a few more wrinkles, I think we’ll actually be pretty good.”

The coach also felt encouraged by the improvement of freshman Imani Stewart.

“Some of the younger kids are starting to step up and get more confidence,” McGill said. “I don’t want us to be perfect right now. At least we have room to improve and grow. As long as the kids’ effort is there and they’re playing hard, I’m pleased.”

Mansfield is also headed to San Marcos this weekend and has midweek games with Legacy and Lake Ridge.

The Lady Eagles also participated in the NISD tournament, notching one win in its matches.

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