Augusta's volleyball team had a few rough patches mixed with some solid play for the Orioles' first competition of the season.
Augusta's volleyball team had a 22-17 lead against Andover and a 22-15 lead against nemesis Mulvane. Both times, the Orioles could've forced third and deciding sets, but both times they lost the lead. Augusta had several bright moments overshadowed by not-so-bright moments Saturday at the Winfield tournament to open the season. The Orioles finished the day 2-4. “It's not that we don't have the ability. It's not that we don't have the knowledge. We don't have the mentality to sustain it,” said new head coach Rich Bishop, who made his debut with the team. “We had a lot of mental lapses today. We had moments where I didn't think anybody here could stop us, and then moments where the worst team here could get to us.” The Trojans, who finished their day undefeated at 6-0, easily beat Augusta 25-12 in the first set of their match. The second set was tight until the Orioles went on a 7-1 stretch as they seemingly were in control to take the set. Mariah Zerr had a pair of kills, Katy Nordman served an ace and Taylore Emond had a pair of kills during the stretch. With a chance to win the set, Augusta committed an error as Andover won three straight points to rally and take the match 25-12, 26-24. After Mulvane took the opening set, the Orioles dominated most of Set 2. Jenna Lynch scored a kill and the Orioles took advantage of some Wildcat errors to open an early 6-1 lead. Mulvane got within two at 14-12, but the Orioles rattled off a 6-0 spurt for a 20-12 lead. Zerr and Kalie Robinson both had a kill during that stretch. Despite the big lead, the Orioles made a few mental mistakes to allow the Wildcats back in it. Nordman got a kill to set up a set point for Augusta, but Mulvane got a block, another kill, and Augusta made an error to give it three straight points to close the match 25-22, 26-24. El Dorado beat the Orioles in their opening match 25-17, 25-13, 25-15. After Augusta was sluggish in the opening set, it picked up the pace and attacks on offense. Courtney Phillips had two kills, two aces and a block in Set 2 alone. Lynch made a diving play to keep the final point alive before El Dorado made an error. But in Set 3, Augusta fell behind 12-3 and never recovered. Augusta got its first win of the season against Winfield 25-22, 25-13. Casady Marlnee got back-to-back kills and Robinson added a kill after those for a quick 4-1 lead in the opening set. Augusta combined for 12 assists, a team high for a single set all day. In Set 2, Phillips hit three aces and forced a fourth return error to start the match. Destiny Williams added two aces and an assist as the Orioles built an 11-2 lead. The Orioles finished with a 91 serving percentage, one of their best of the day. Bishop said it was mainly a matter of being active in the match that raised the level of the Orioles' play when they did get on a roll for several stretches. “Nothing in particular other than we were talking, communicating more and being where we're supposed to, being on our toes,” he said. The Orioles later were outmatched against Trinity as the Knights won 25-17, 25-18. Augusta finished the day by rolling to a 25-16, 25-20 win against Ark City. Phillips had her best offensive match of the day against the Bulldogs with six kills and two aces. Zerr, whom Bishop said had one of the best days for the Orioles, had two kills and an ace in Set 1, and added a kill in Set 2. Despite being sick, Williams set extremely well at times, hit and served well and even got in on some blocks defensively. Morgan Kirk was a difference maker setting the ball and getting the offense going. The Orioles will play their first triangular of the season tonight at Andale.