Hays High volleyball coach Shannon Funk viewed Thursday’s quadrangular as a learning opportunity for the Indians.
Hays High opened the quad with a strong first set, but then lost six straight sets and went 0-3 on the day.
"Games like these are a learning experience," Funk said. "You’re exposed in what you’re struggling in, and that makes for a great learning opportunity. That’s what we focused on in the locker room after the game, and that’s how we’re going to move forward."
The Indians fell 25-14, 15-25, 23-25 to Salina South, 23-25, 23-25 to Dodge City and 23-25, 20-25 Norton.
Funk said serving was the main culprit in the Indians’ struggles to pull out the tight sets.
"We had too many missed serves in each game," Funk said. "It made a huge difference. When you play close games, five missed serves in a set is going to lose you a game."
The main varsity roster is comprised of eight players for the Indians — Alexa Moeckel, Kaitlyn Suppes, Aleyia Ruder, McKenzie Flax, Ella Voth, Maia Lummus, Carly Lang and Brooklyn Schaffer.
"We’ve always got bright spots," said Funk, who is in her first year as head coach of the Indians. "Our girls are resilient and they bounce back and they do a lot of good things. They work so hard for me, they want to do well all the time, which is a good thing. It gets them down a little bit when they struggle through moments. We’re just going to work on fixing those things and making the good things last a little bit longer, I guess."
One consistent characteristic the Indians have shown is an ability to start strong, which they proved in a solid opening set against Salina South.
"It’s rare for a team to ’get off the bus’ and play outstanding — these girls do that," Funk said. "Most of our outings we played pretty great (at the start), typically. And then it’s that second set where usually they kind of sink into a rhythm and intensity level goes down a little bit and they lose a little bit of focus, and that’s something we’re going to work hard on, finishing that second set."
The Indians were 10-11 on the season following Thursday’s quad.
"Our up and downs have a lot to do with the girls learning new things," Funk said. "They are effective on some things and there’s other things that they are still learning and getting better at. Because there are new opportunities for them, sometimes they’re going to have relapses or failures on occasion. We don’t focus on errors; it’s not something I get upset about with errors.
"We’re focused on growth, and tonight was an opportunity for growth. I think our record shows that we have opportunities for growth. We’ve beat some darned good teams, and when these girls play cohesive and they play consistent, we can beat a lot of teams."
Sub-state assignments came out on Thursday. The Indians are paired with Great Bend, Salina Central and Salina South in their sub-state tourney at Great Bend on Oct. 24.
"We’ve got an opportunity to play some good teams," Funk said. "And if we play well, our chance for state is there."