Birdville coach Cynthia Reinhart was hoping her team could find some form by midseason after graduating five seniors from last season’s team.
After the Hawks knocked off Keller Fossil Ridge 25-20, 25-16, 25-27, 25-18 in the season opener Tuesday, Reinhart was a little more at ease.
Junior outside hitter Hannah Ray had 10 kills and served three consecutive aces in Game 4 to seal the victory at Fossil Ridge.
“They did things tonight that took us half a season to do last year,” Reinhart said. “I thought they had a lot of fight and some aggressiveness to go after balls they didn’t go after last year.”
Birdville (1-0) fell behind early 9-4 before finding a rhythm at the net in Game 1. The Hawks went on a 21-11 run to win the first game before dominating Game 2.
“I really thought they waited for their opportunities and when we had leads, they took advantage of mistakes,” she said. “Hopefully, we can keep that kind of momentum going and it opens up some opportunities.”
Fossil Ridge (0-1), with a new coach in Jennifer Chandler and a new system, made the most of a Game 3 rally to win 27-25 and avoid a sweep.
Sophomore Tori Woogk had six kills, 15 for the match, and served an ace in the win.
But Woogk was forced to play one stretch at setter when Birdville rallied from a seven-point deficit to tie the game at 24-24.
The teams combined for 10 errors over the final 13 points.
“And that’s one of our issues is that she’s maybe the best setter we have, but I feel like as the season goes on we’ll have some others step up and help out,” Chandler said of Woogk.
Ray said her Birdville team is picking things up quicker already.
“We’ve been in Coach Reinhart’s system now for a long time,” Ray said. “You saw tonight how much better we’ve become, and I know we can be even better.”