Indian volleyball 0-3 at home
By NICK McQUEEN
Hays High second-year head volleyball coach Christin Nunnery doesn't want her team to focus on the fact it is so young, but admits it's a learning process.
The coach knows this club has the potential in a couple years, but it can "be a great team" this season.
However, that youth and lack of varsity court time has contributed to a 4-8 start, including an 0-3 showing in the Indians' home opener Thursday at the HHS gym.
"It is frustrating at times," Nunnery said. "But, we're young -- a very young team. A lot of our errors are just mental errors."
Hays High, with just one senior and two juniors, lost to Garden City, Pratt and Ulysses in its quad. The Indians fell, 25-16, 18-25, 25-15 to the Buffaloes, and 25-21, 25-18 to Pratt, ranked No. 10 in Class 4A. Then, Hays High 23-25, 25-22, 25-22 to Ulysses to close the night.
"We're seeing huge improvement from game to game," Nunnery said. "I've told them multiple times, 'I don't mind if we lose, if we're fighting to win.'
"We fought to win tonight in that last match," she added. "The first two, we eased up at times, but that last one, they fought."
Throughout the day, many of Hays High's points came on opponent errors. In the first set against Garden City, the Buffaloes went on a 13-8 stretch where all the points were scored either by a Garden City attack or a Garden City error.
"We've been tell them they're playing not to lose, instead of going out and attacking to get the kills to play to win," Nunnery said. "We're kind of lacking that drive right now."
In the second game, Hays High rallied with an 11-6 run that set up the Game 2 victory, but again an error in Game 3 led to a long Garden City run and the eventual Indian loss.
Nunnery did say they have probably the best back row player in the state in Albany Schaffer, and the Indians can build around that. The sophomore finished with 57 digs on the day.
"She is going to get to balls most other girls don't get to," Nunnery said. "Having her back there helps, but I think sometimes our team relies on that a little too much.
"When she doesn't get it, we really don't know what do and one mistake leads to seven, and they have to figure out how to adjust."
Pratt, which came in with one loss and the state ranking, trailed Hays High 3-0 early in the first game, but eventually pulled away from a 21-20 game for the win. Hays High had a brief 6-5 lead in the second game before Pratt went on the run.
In the match against, Ulysses, Game 2 was a good example of the Indians' fight, something Nunnery said they didn't quite have in the first two matches. Hays High trailed Ulysses 22-14 and rallied to within 23-22 before a loss.
While her team is young, "They should also be wanting to win," Nunnery said. "They should have that drive, and not focus so much on 'Well, in two years, we're going to be a great team.' "
The last game was back-and-forth, as neither team earned more than a two-point lead, before three straight kills by Ulysses senior Morgan Kistler put it out of reach, sending Hays High to 0-3 for the day.
Sophomore Madison Prough and senior Haley Wells led Hays High with 27 and 24 assists, respectively. Sophomore Audra Schmeidler had 24 kills to lead the way.
"We have six solid players on the court at a time right now," Nunnery said. "We go up against a lot of teams that have one or two.
"We have to learn how to utilize that, then roll with it."
Hays High's next action is Thursday at Nickerson. The next home action is Oct. 3 at 4 p.m.