For The Independent
As a kindergarten teacher, Raceland volleyball coach Jason Clark knows a good teaching moment when he sees one.
On Monday night, the energetic coach saw one too good to pass up.
With his team already up 2-0 and the third game well in hand at 19-13, Clark called his first timeout of the night to remind his team what happened the last time the Lady Rams were in a similar situation.
“That was the exact score of the Rowan County game last week. We were up 2-0 with the score of 19-13. I just wanted to remind them, this is not over, here is what we have to do,” said Clark, whose team went on to lose to the Lady Vikings in five games last Tuesday night. “That was just a teaching point. Very rarely do you have one like that come up, and it just happened to come against one of our rivals.”
Raceland had no trouble holding on to a lead this time around, winning six straight points following the timeout to finish off Russell 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-13) at Raceland-Worthington High School.
“We came out and played really well after the timeout,” Clark said. “They responded really well.”
It wasn’t just after the timeout that the Lady Rams played well. Raceland dominated most of the night, jumping out to early leads in all three games and never looking back.
The Lady Rams (15-4) opened the three games with runs of 6-3, 11-2 and 5-1, respectively.
Raceland relied on sophomore server Savannah Mackie to shoot out to the hot starts.
“Savannah Mackie goes back there and serves for us. All she has to do is keep it over and in, because we have Kymbria (Williams) up front and that gets her a lot of swings,” Clark said. “A lot of the time we get free balls back and we use that. (Williams) has the ability put it down and score points. Savannah did a good job of getting us off to good starts.”
Williams finished with eight kills on the night.
Russell coach Darrell Adkins said his team could just never quite recover from the slow starts.
“We are very young, and we get very nervous and very tense. Once that happens it goes downhill fast,” he said. “We never got any momentum early so we could get the lead and gain some confidence. Playing from behind with a young team is hard to do.”
Adkins, whose Lady Devils (7-9) have lost five of their last six, was frustrated all night with his team’s inability to make the simple plays. However, after the match he admitted that is just part of the process with a young group.
“I shouldn’t be (frustrated). We have a very young team and we knew that coming into the year,” he said. “We worked our setter to death. She had no chance; she worked hard but we just didn’t give her anything to work with. Our passing has to get better.”
Raceland setters Megan Farley and Madison Wilburn had plenty of good passes to set, which resulted in plenty of opportunities for the Raceland frontline — the group up front converted more often than not.
MaKenzi Speaks, Williams, Abby Brogan and Mackie all played exceptionally well.
“Those four were just a force up there tonight,” Clark said. “My two outsides and my two middles were great. You couldn’t ask for a better night from those four girls.”
Emma Ison was the top hitter for the Lady Red Devils with five kills on the night.