Lakeland boys volleyball falls to 2-5
Published 8:55 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The Lakeland boys volleyball team lost to visiting district opponent Oscar Smith in straight sets, 25-17, 25-19, 25-22 on Tuesday evening.
“It was tough. It’s still a learning process for them,” Lakeland coach Omar McGann said. “It’s a fair game. Not the best, but fair.”
The Cavaliers (2-5) trailed for most of the match, but showed some life when they staged small rallies at the end of each game. They saved their best for the last game.
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Down 23-16, they closed the gap to 23-18 fueled, in part, by service from Kyler Sparks. They regained the serve with the score 24-19, and Brandon Nordan scored three service points to close it to 24-22. Nordan dove in an attempt to save the volley, but it was not enough to prevent the final score.
Nordan is one of the four seniors on this year’s team. The others are Colby Bennett, Randy Hollins and Jacob Williams. The majority of the team does not have much experience in the sport.
“I got a lot of young guys that really haven’t played volleyball,” McGann said, “so I know that they still don’t know the ins and outs of what to do the whole game. But overall, they’re getting better every game, and that’s always positive.”
This is McGann’s first year as varsity boys volleyball coach after coaching the JV girls team last year.
“I knew I had some decent athletes, I knew I didn’t have much volleyball players yet,” he said, “so I was kind of relying on my coaching to kind of get them up to speed. (I’m) getting a reality check every game (on) what more I need to do.”
Though he notes that many of the experienced players graduated last year, a few remain, like Nordan.
“He’s the only one that’s probably played a couple of years and really understands what’s going on,” he said. “I put a lot of pressure on him. He takes that pressure in stride.”
McGann has not let the reality of an unseasoned team dampen his confidence in their potential for this season.
“I knew it was going to be more rebuilding,” he said. “But my confidence level, I feel like maybe we could get into maybe a district tournament or something.”
McGann’s goal this season was to break even at 9-9, and he feels the team is not far from the mark. He is not counting out the possibility of a run at the district tournament, either.
“I think we could still make a late run,” he said. “I know we’ve got some good teams coming in front of us. I’m still confident that we can do it. I just know we’ve got to work harder in practice. I know they have the concept, I know that we can hang with these teams. I’ve just got to build the confidence in them, let them know, ‘Hey, even though we haven’t been playing a long time, we can still do it.’”
The Cavaliers host Grassfield on Thursday at 5 p.m.