LINGLE – Through the first five matches of the 2019 season, there was one word on the mind of Lingle-Fort Laramie head coach Barb Clark – passing.
“Passing, passing, passing. We ran our setter to death, but as the day wore on, we got better,” she said. “We have got to do better passing. Without that, nothing else good gets to come.”
The Lady Doggers opened the season with a 2-0 (25-19, 25-23) loss to the Hulett Red Devils.
“I think we should have gotten Hulett. I think that was a lot of jitters,” Clark said. “The gym was packed with all those kids, and I think it was a bit overwhelming for the first game out.”
LFL dug itself a hole against Hulett, falling behind 3-1 in each set.
“We aren’t young, but it looks like we are young,” Clark said. “I’m sure every coach said that on Friday since it’s the beginning of the season.”
From there, things improved for the Lady Doggers, winning three of their final four matches.
LFL got into the win column in their following match against Upton, with a 2-1 (25-20, 23-25, 15-9) victory.
The Lady Doggers returned to the court with a 2-0 (25-15, 25-18) win over Midwest, before falling to Class 2A Sundance, 2-0 (25-14, 25-16).
“They are a solid team,” Clark said of Sundance. “They have some big hitters.”
LFL ended the day with a 2-1 (25-22, 16-25, 15-7) victory over Kaycee.
“Against Kaycee, the first and third game we passed lights out and played much better ball,” Clark said.
Clark pointed to her seniors as bright spots through the first weekend of the season.
“Ashley Riley and Kalli Nichol did a nice job. They stepped up hitting, passing,” she said. “Audrey Perry is new to our offense and defense and struggled as to where she needed to be, but as the day went on, she did well adjusting to that.”
Nichol had eight kills in the season opening loss to Hulett, while Riley had seven.
“Jessy White did a great job of getting off as many sets as she could when we weren’t passing where we needed to be,” Clark said.
The Lady Doggers travel to Pine Bluffs on Thursday, Sept. 5 for a 6 p.m. contest and will host Sioux County at 4 p.m. Friday.