On Tuesday, the Borger Lady Bulldogs endured a rough start to the 2011 volleyball season, losing in straight sets to Canyon and 2A #3 Bushland at Canyon High School.
In both matches, the Lady Bulldogs got off to slow starts but played better as the matches went on. Borger Head Volleyball Coach Michael Littlejohn believes nerves got the best of his team in both matches.
Littlejohn said, “I was not pleased with our starts or our effort to begin games but the girls did come back and compete and that is important. As much as I was disappointed early in the matches, I was pleased with the way we finished except for a couple mistakes late in the Bushland match.”
After losing 25-8 in game one with Bushland, the Lady Bulldogs played the 2A power tough in the final two games that included a 29-27 score in game three, showing the team has the potential to be a good squad. However there is still a lot of work to be done to get where they want to be by district. Littlejohn commented, “We have a long ways to go in every aspect right now but the girls are working hard and learning on the go. This group has a high learning curve and I hope as we play more and more they will start to relax a little and learn to start as well as finish games.”
He added, “We are very young all the way across the board, but we have to step up as quickly as possible and learn each game out. This group could be a good team before the year is over, but we are going to have to work hard and improve each and every day in practice as well as games.”
Going into Tuesday, Littlejohn narrowed the varsity roster to twelve girls that includes six seniors, four juniors, and two sophomores. Of the six seniors, Kristen Mills, Bethany Harris and Raygen Eakins are the only ones to see significant playing time at the varsity level, backing up Littlejohn’s description of the team being young and inexperienced.
The Lady Bulldog next travel to take part in the “2011 Cool in Boomtown” Burkburnett Tournament this weekend which will bring in twenty teams from the 1A-4A ranks, including last year’s tournament champions Wichita Falls Rider.
Over the years, competing in the tournament is somewhat a tradition for the Lady Bulldogs. The team received the Tony Silva Sportsmanship Award in 2007 for demonstrating great sportsmanship during the tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs open tournament play competing in Pool D on Friday at 2:30 p.m. taking on Kennedale followed by matches with Holliday, Vernon and Electra.
As far as what Littlejohn expects to see from his team this weekend, the coach said, “I am looking for us to start each game with more intensity and not the nerves we started with Tuesday night. I also want to see us competing no matter the score or opponent as well as doing a better job of taking care of the ball along with our individual responsibilities on defense as well as on offense.”
Following the Burkburnett Tournament, the Lady Bulldogs will travel to Amarillo next Tuesday to take part in a triangular with River Road and Hereford starting at 5:00 p.m. at River Road High School.