The Northwest volleyball team continued its difficult trek through the non-district schedule this past weekend with its home tournament, and coach Amy Gaston said she continues to see steady improvement from her team.
The Lady Texans went 2-5 in tournament competition, and things will not get any easier this coming weekend when they travel to compete in the very salty Arlington tournament.
“This tournament is more about gaining experience than anything else,” Gaston said. “When three quarters of our team have never set foot (on the court) in a varsity jersey before the start of this season, it's hard to ask for anything else. It would be real easy for us as a coaching staff to harp on their wins and losses, because I do feel that we have lost some matches that, skill-wise, we were talented enough to win.
“But we try not to focus on that, because especially with youth where confidence is really key, we try to focus on more of the things that we are doing right. We knew it was going to be a tough pre-season schedule, but I feel that it's crucial, because it's not just about this year for us. It's about year two, three and so forth.”
Gaston said she was pleased with her team's effort at the home tournament said she sees a lot of things that make her optimistic about Northwest's chances this season.
“I think we got better every day of the tournament,” Gaston said. “We did much better than we did in Pearland last weekend. I have eight sophomores and freshman on the varsity this year, so at any given point, more than half of the kids on the court don't have varsity experience this year. So we'll do really great things, because of their skills, but then we'll do some not so great things because of their youth.
“I think that we did a far better job of playing with consistency. We faced some really talented teams in the tournament like Southlake and Arlington Lamar, and we looked strong against them. We still have a lot of work to do, but I was proud of their effort.”
Gaston said that she got good play from Morgan Baker, Tessa Hartfield and Camryn Berryhill.
“We got a lot of questions about them,” Gaston said. “Everybody kind of wanted to know who those kids were. So I was impressed with that.”
The biggest area of concern for Gaston at this point in the season is that her team continue to improve.
“We talk a lot about being better every day,” Gaston said. “And if we can be one percent better every day, when it counts at district, I think we'll be in a good spot. So we're not really concerned about losses right now, it's just more about progress.”
Gaston said that she believes as far as evaluating players and playing top level competition, the non-district schedule has achieved both of those goals for Northwest.
“We're very fortunate to have been part of the tournaments we have been so far and seeing the best teams in the state,” Gaston said. “Having the chance to play the likes of Southlake, Decatur and Aledo, I think it's great for our kids to understand where we need to be in order to be successful.”