Lady ’Stangs go 3-1 to open season

September 20, 2018

NEEDLES — After playing three volleyball matches in one week the Needles High School Lady ’Stangs start with a 3-1 overall and a 1-1 record in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) 2A South League.

The Lady ’Stangs on Sept. 10 took on the Mohave Accelerated Learning Center Lady Patriots in The Corral. The score of the non-league match was 25-9 in the first game; 25-21 in the second game and the same score in the third game.

The Lady ’Stangs got off to a fast start against the Lady Patriots taking a 12-5 point advantage into a timeout called by the Lady Patriots.

“They are starting to work together and I see the girls starting to talk more to each other during the games,” said Patricia Phelps, Lady ’Stangs head coach. “They’re starting to depend on each other to start and finish plays, which is good.”

The second and third games were similar in the way that the Lady Patriots were able to get ahead in the score over the Lady ’Stangs before Needles’ girls came back to win both games. Phelps, in the second game, played her freshman players and at times mixed in one or two veteran players.

“It’s a new experience when you have freshmen on the team. So I wanted to make sure that we keep on meshing and talking during games which is very important,” said Phelps.

The Needles’ girls stayed at home to play their first NIAA 2A South League match of the year on Sept. 11 against the Mountain View Christian High School Lady Saints. The Lady ’Stangs made quick work of the Lady Saints by winning the doubleheader with a score of 25-4, 25-7, 27-7 and 25-13.

The match was delayed nearly an hour after the visitors’ vehicle broke down on the trip to Needles.

Everyone got to play, Coach Phelps pointed out after the abbreviated contest, with emphasis on serving and hitting practice. Almost every Needles girl tried out a jump serve; in Game 2 Katie Cameron served up an even dozen in a row. Most were unreturned.

Paige Murch, Kobrea Philips, Riley Breaux and Ally Pletcher also had extended stints at the service line. Murch, Breaux and Cameron displayed a great deal of hitting power; Breaux and Savannah Hazlewood did most of the blocking. There was none of the extended volleying of the previous night’s non-conference match against MALC’s Lady Patriots.

The last match of the week was a loss against league rivals the Lake Mead Lady Eagles in Henderson, Nev., on Sept. 14. The scores were: first set — Lady Eagles 25 - Lady ’Stangs 20, Lady ’Stangs 26 - Lady Eagles 24; second set — Lady Eagles 25 - Lady ’Stangs 12, Lady Eagles 25 - Lady ’Stangs 22.

“This was the first time that we saw some good hitters and it was a learning experience for our first-year players,” said Phelps. “We really struggled to cover the court during the game and anticipate the play whether it was a tip or a spike.”

Despite the Lady ’Stangs struggling to cover the spaces in the second game of the first set, the Needles’ girls were able to come from behind to win the game.

“I think that Paige (Murch) and Katie (Cameron) are doing a great job hitting for us and Riley (Breaux) is still great for us at the net,” said Phelps. “Kobrea (Phillips) really stepped up for us as she came in as a setter during the game. Throughout the game we were really picking our spots very well during our service game but we just weren’t fast enough to cover the return.

“We are going to work a lot on our coverage as well as getting better at anticipating the play,” said Phelps.

The Lady ’Stangs host The Meadows High School Lady Mustangs on Sept. 20. The NIAA doubleheader starts with the junior varsity team playing at 3 and 4 p.m. followed by the varsity team starting at 5 and 6 p.m.

Deset Star editor Robin Richards contributed to this report (Tuesday’s coverage).

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