XENIA — As the season gets rolling for volleyball teams, having long rallies is not always an ideal situation to get into with young teams.
While always trying to win individual points, it would seem to be a way for coaches to get an idea about player capabilities and decision making on the court.
Xenia and Legacy Christian are two similar squads trying to learn about themselves at this early stage and got into a few of those situations during Monday’s opening single match of the year for both squads. It was the Bucs getting the overall best of the play by controlling its own tempo during its 25-17, 25-18, 25-13, win in straight sets on Monday at Xenia.
“It’s better for them to learn to play fast,” Xenia head coach Jessica Threats said. “I want their level of engagement to stay up as opposed to going slow [in rallies].”
Xenia is looking to fill players into new roles this season after graduating three seniors which rewrote the school record book from last year’s MVL Valley championship team.
As if that wasn’t already a tall task to figure out, injuries are already causing issues to work through as well. Threats said some girls are working through potential ankle sprains, while visible casts, such as on the arm of the team’s returning leading in kills in Paige Spouse, are keeping players off the court.
“A lot of the girls are versatile and willing to change their role,” Threats said. “There’s a lot of adjustment and a lot of opportunities available to the new kids and they’re excited about it.”
It’s a similar story for Legacy Christian head coach Amy Pickens and her team.
Only two players with varsity experience return from 2021 and all the younger players have needed to step up quickly with four matches already in the books over three days for the Knights.
“It’s just them learning each other because they haven’t played with each other,” Pickens said of the Knights’ early performances. “A lot of them are in kind of new positions along with needing to be with JV and they’ve had to play all over the place.”
Pickens also has concerns over the idea of injuries and leaving enough players to compete between both levels.
Both squads received some solid play from its newcomers on Monday.
Arison Boswell began her senior season with a strong service performance for the Bucs in winning three or more straight points on three occasions. Meanwhile, Immy Grant has gotten her high school career underway for the Knights as the only freshman on the team and already has several multi-kill performances in matches.
Learning what everyone excels at will come with time on the court, and both the Bucs and the Knights have their entire seasons in front of them to figure out what will mesh best.
“I have huge hopes for the rest of the season because they’re getting it together,” Pickens said. “It should be a fun season.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.