The beginning of any season sometimes can be tough. A coach has to find the right combination of players, while the players have to gell as an unit.
West Lincoln volleyball head coach Rick Rose doesnâ€™t feel those two things are the problem for his team. He believes his team should have more leadership.
â€œThere is a little lack of team leadership, it would be nice if one of my players would step forward and take that position. I know if one of these girls would start, then other people would jump on the bandwagon and respond to that,â€ he said.
The Lady Rebels are currently 2-3, after dropping Wednesdayâ€™s match versus the North Lincoln Lady Knights.
While Rose feels nobody has really stepped up as a leader, he doesnâ€™t believe thatâ€™s the only problem.
â€œThe team is very competitive. There is no doubt in my mind that we can win more games than we lose. Leadership is part of the problem and the other is not really practicing some of the things weâ€™re weak in. Thatâ€™s probably my fault.â€
The Lady Rebels went 13-10 last season and finished fifth in the Midwest 2A Conference. From that group only one starter returns to this yearâ€™s team.
Senior captain Beverly Hutchinson, a setter, is a three-year starter under Rose.
â€œSheâ€™s probably the best setter I have. She understands the game well and reads everything real well. I really donâ€™t have to coach her during game time because sheâ€™s very perceptive,â€ Rose said.
Fellow seniors Paula Jarrett and Katie Thornburg, both hitters, are Roseâ€™s other captains.
â€œPaulaâ€™s probably my strongest hitter and one of my better servers. Katieâ€™s probably one of my better defensive back row players,â€ Rose said.
Senior Teosha Jackson, who left West Lincoln a couple of years ago for Charlotte, also is a key contributor.
â€œSheâ€™s been a big help to the team and Iâ€™m glad to have her back,â€ Rose said.
April Norman and Sheana Black are two juniors that are hoping to make their mark.
â€œAprilâ€™s a very strong hitter and was one my better JV players. Sheana didnâ€™t play last year because she was a cheerleader, but Iâ€™m very glad to have her back out there,â€ Rose said.
Rose is pleased with his teamâ€™s effort and is not quite ready to push the panic button.
â€œItâ€™s still early in the season. Every year Iâ€™ve played Maiden theyâ€™re always pretty tough. I think by losing the first couple of matches I think weâ€™re still trying to find out what really works. I think the kids get a little frustrated with me because I change things, but all Iâ€™m trying to do is find what will work,â€ he said.
The team has circled next weekâ€™s match against Lincolnton on their schedule. Ross believes it could be a pivotal moment for his team.
â€œI havenâ€™t given up and I never have, but itâ€™s just a matter of finding that right combination. If we go in and beat them then you donâ€™t know what it will do for the season, but if we lose it will be real tough to rebound.â€
by John Mark Brooks