SWEETWATER —Bulldogettes will be focusing on defensive basics when they return to practice this week after their latest match, but head coach Jamie Bonner is pleased with how her volleyball team is shaping up this season.
The Coahoma team earned its first loss of the preseason to Grape Creek — 21-25, 25-18, 11-15 — and won against 4A Sweetwater — 26-24, 21-25, 15-13 — in a dual match hosted by the Lady Mustangs on Saturday.
The Bulldogettes made some costly defensive errors during their first set against the Lady Eagles, but were able to recover to win the second set. In the last set, the Bulldogettes made a late-in-the-game rally to pull within three points before Grape Creek ended the match with a kill.
“One big thing they did to us is that they tipped the ball a lot, and we were standing back ready for a hit. We couldn’t adjust and move our feet in time,” Bonner said. “Another issue for us was being in the correct defensive position quick enough. We are definitely going to go back and work on those fundamentals.”
Kenzi Canales led Coahoma in the final push of the Grape Creek game sending over some powerful serves to Lady Eagles side for the last three Bulldogette points. Stepping into the team’s Libero position, the Coahoma High School senior has added an additional level of depth to the Bulldogettes’ defensive arsenal.
“She worked so hard in the summer,” Bonner said. “Summer workouts were off and on, but she was there every day and continued to work, and she has stepped up her leadership skills this year. Also, I think that just translates to our physical play on the court.”
Quickly shaking off the loss, the girls turned around to face a tough second match against the Sweetwater Lady Mustangs. With the powerful arms of seniors Julia Cox, Ashley Romero, and MaKynlee Overton, Coahoma left the floor with a two-set to one victory.
Combined stats for the two games show Cox led the Bulldogettes with 10 kills followed by Romero with nine and Overton had eight.
Led by four senior starters, the Coahoma team still has plenty of talent from its younger players to draw from. Sophomore Zoie Joslin, who returned as the team’s go-to setter, had 16 assists for the match. Freshman Isabella Cox had five kills and an ace and her classmate Sophie Biddison got two kills and two aces.
“It feels really good, and it feels good to the girls, to know that we have nine players who can all step up at any time and play any position because of their overall athleticism,” Bonner said. “That’s huge for us to have people who can step in no matter what the situation is, and I have faith they can get it done.”
After more than five months and an interrupted summer workout program caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the return to competition has been welcomed by both Coahoma athletes and their coaches.
It also means getting used to following new UIL Covid-19 guidelines.
“It’s been weird getting used to the mask, but they have adjusted well,” Bonner said. “I thought not being able to switch sides might have affected us. It’s all mental as far as what side you are on anyway, but so far, I don’t think that has affected us in any way. We are just excited that we get to play. Every day that we get to play, I tell them we are just going to work hard and have fun. You never know how long it will last.”
JV Bulldogettes volleyball action: JV White fell in both games at the Sweetwater dual. JV Red went 2-0.
Next: The Coahoma varsity Bulldogettes (3-1) hosts Lubbock Estacado for their home opener at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. JV White plays at 4:30 p.m., JV Red’s game starts at 5:30 p.m. All games are held at the Coahoma Elementary School competition gym on the Kim Nichols gym floor.
Coahoma varsity Bulldogettes at Sweetwater Dual
Grape Creek DEF. Coahoma: 21-25, 25-18, 11-15
Kills: Julia Cox 3, Ashley Romero 4, Isabella Cox 3, Sophie Biddison 1, MayKynlee Overton 4.
Blocks: Julia Cox 1, MaKynlee Overton 2.
Assists: Julia Cox 1, Zoie Joslin 7, Isabella Cox 1, Christen Everett 1, MaKynlee Overton 1
Digs: Kenzi Canales 2, Julia Cox 1, MaKynlee Overton 2.
Coahoma DEF Sweetwater: 26-24, 21-25, 15-13
Aces: Ashley Romero 1, Christian Everett, 1, Isabella Cox 1, Sophie Biddison 2.
Kills: Kenzi Canales 1, Julia Cox 7, Ashley Romero 5, Isabella Cox 2, Sophie Biddison 1, MaKynlee Overton 4.
Blocks: MaKynlee Overton 2.
Assists: Zoie Joslin 9, MaKynlee Overton 1
Digs: Zoie Joslin 1, Isabella Cox 1, MaKynlee Overton 1.