Expectations can be high when a team is conference tournament runner ups, but theyâ€™re even higher when eight seniors suit up.
Such is the case for the Lincolnton Lady Wolves and head coach Butch Richardson. The Lady Wolves beat the North Lincoln Lady Knights on Wednesday 3-1; 20-25, 25-9, 28-26 and 25-19.
The win improves their record to 2-0 on the season. They looked more like the Lincolnton team that were Midwest 2A Conference Tournament runner ups as opposed to the team that went 5-17 overall and 3-11 in the conference last season.
Richardson hopes that continues to be the case.
â€œWe learned a lot from last year. they know they have to come to play every night which we didnâ€™t do last year,â€ he said.
The coach felt his unit looked more like last yearâ€™s regular season team in the first game against the Lady Knights.
â€œWe had a little bit of adversity because we dropped the first game. I reminded them that this is how they played last year. During the game there was a lot of standing around and not a lot of communication,â€ Richardson said.
He does not, however, take anything away from North.
â€œWe cut down on the mental errors and played solid. Theyâ€™re a pretty good teamâ€” theyâ€™re real scrappy,â€ Richardson said.
With an abundance of talent and experience, Richardson believes his 2004 team should be solid.
â€œIf we continue to think positive. Come each game and play hard and mentally be focusedâ€” we can be tough. We have the ability and the skills that we can be a contender, but on the other hand if we are not mentally prepared, we are just an average team,â€ he said.
Kennan Eaddy, Santana Edwards, Cristina Leon, Lindsey Sain, Lauren Sain, Elizabeth Stepp, Julie Tipton and Ashley make comprise the senior leadership for the Wolves.
â€œSix of the eight have played four years, so their experience on the court is invaluable. Thatâ€™s a definite advantage anytime you take the floor. Theyâ€™re going to know things that the younger kids donâ€™t,â€ Richardson pointed out.
With so many years under their belt, Richardson believes heâ€™s already seeing their experience show up in their play.
â€œMistakes are down, weâ€™re making plays and thatâ€™s due to our cohesiveness. Our season is going to depend largely on how our seniors lead the rest of the group. Theyâ€™re the role models, theyâ€™re going to have to get the sophomores and juniors to step up and just be an example.â€
Eaddy was in the top two in blocks on the defensive side of net, while Lindsey Sain led the Lady Wolves in kills in 2003. Their play has earned them the title of captain.
â€œThey are the ones that are going to have to carry the heavy load. Kennan and Lindsey they are the captains and are leading stats leaders,â€ Richardson said.
Both Eaddy and Sain will be relied on heavily by Richardson this year with their attitudes and play on the court certain to rub off on their teammates.
â€œKennan anchors us in the middle with her defense by occupying the middle of the net, so her teammates can make plays. Lindsey is such a great player on the offensive and defensive end that she pays double dividends because sheâ€™s good on both sides,â€ Richardson said.
In the JV match, North Lincoln beat Lincolnton 25-10 and 25-19.
by John Mark Brooks