The Little Elm volleyball team finished the preseason with a bang.
What was just as – if not more impressive – was the manner in which the Lady Lobos got the job done on their home court Tuesday night.
Sparked by a few changes to its lineup, Little Elm won the final three sets after losing the first two to Richardson Berkner to capture a 3-2 victory (20-25, 22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-5) over the Rams.
“We needed some of our senior leadership to take more responsibility for loose balls and out-of-system balls, so we spoke about that and they really stepped up,” said Veronica Mendez, Little Elm head coach. “We made some defensive changes that the girls really bought into, and our hitters got fired up and gained some confidence and really started swinging to the right places on the court.”
One of the seniors that Mendez made reference to is Emma Robinson. Robinson turned in a great all-around performance with nine digs, eight kills, four service aces and three blocks to help lead the big comeback win for Little Elm (8-11).
Good serving played a key role in leading the Lady Lobos to their first home win of the season. Little Elm tallied 16 service aces on the night with six different Lobos recording at least one ace, compared to just four foaceq1qar Berkner.
Junior Corey Hazelwood finished with a team-high 14 kills and added eight digs. Sophomore Quinn Brignac also had a big night at the net with 12 kills, six blocks and four aces.
Juniors Gretchen Barraez and Yasmin Lira set up the offense well for the home team. Barraez had a volleyball double-double with 12 digs and 16 assists. Lira tallied 15 assists, three aces and eight digs.
Berkner junior Landry Baughman was brilliant in defeat, leading all players in kills with 20.
With Tuesday’s match serving as a tune-up for Friday’s District 5-6A opener against Prosper, No. 13 in the latest Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 6A state poll, Mendez noted the importance of Little Elm’s win against Berkner.
“This was a big game for us to win, because we had to fight for it,” she said. “We had yet to win a five-set match until now. It was also our first win at home, which was a real confidence builder.
“I think the girls seeing that they have a lot of fight in them and allowing themselves to take risks at crucial times and find success in that was a great way to build the right mentality moving into district play.”
It was the second straight victory for Little Elm.
The Lady Lobos didn’t have to work as hard against Corsicana in a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 25-17, 25-20) victory over the Tigers on Sept. 3.
Brignac notched seven kills to pace Little Elm’s offense in addition to three service aces. Junior Lily Koehn contributed five kills. Hazelwood had a team-high eight digs to lead the Lady Lobos’ defensive efforts. Lira dished out 11 assists.