By Marinda Lamb

The Lincoln County High School volleyball teams, JV, and varsity participated in the White Pine Invitational in Ely, Nevada, last weekend. On Friday, they played five other teams to see where they placed in the tournament the next day. The varsity won only one of the five games against Battle Mountain, they played that day. Then the rest of the teams won with a two-three point lead.

Coach Chantel Holt said, “I think we did really, really well. We’ve actually asked the girls to change a lot of things from the past. We have some of the same rotation styles, but the way we play defense is completely different from what we’ve played in the past two or three years. Any time you change something drastic, like a major defense or major offense, there is going to be a space of time of transition to know where you are on the court, to know what you have to do, to know what roles and responsibilities there are. I think we really hammered through some of those problems this weekend. We were able to find where our gaps and holes were, where we were missing our assignments, and fix them towards the end. Because we were making all those transitions instead of being in the first or second bracket, we ended up playing for third, and I think, that being said, it just shows how well we did.” The girls never lost by a huge amount; they were always right there up with the rest of the teams. It shows how well they are transitioning to their changes in the rotations and defense. They were literally right there every game.

Saturday, the team started off with an intense game against the Tonopah Muckers. The first set to 25, Tonopah won, just barely pulling ahead every few points. They were always up one or two points until the Lady Lynx would match them, only to slip behind again.

During the second set, the girls were determined to stay up. It was like the first set, except opposite; the Lady Lynx were a few points ahead the entire time with Tonopah trying to catch them. Until the last few points, the Muckers played a little harder and won the match. That knocked the Lady Lynx out of the bracket for first place. They were fighting for third. They killed West Wendover in the next game, ensuring them a place to go to a third. Tonopah ended up being the team they needed to beat. After losing to Tonopah twice, the Lady Lynx were ready to beat them.

The girls played their hearts out. The Lady Lynx won the first set to twenty-five. They were hitting the ground, getting balls that they would’ve thought impossible the week before, and playing smart just to get the ball back over the net. The goal was to make the other team make mistakes.

The second set wasn’t as successful. The girls kept up the same way they’d been playing but fell short. Once again, they were beaten by just a few points. Since Tonopah and Lincoln split the sets, they went on to play the third set to fifteen points to determine the match.

Lincoln and Tonopah kept going back and forth with leads. The score was ten to fourteen, Tonopah. Brooklyn Hafen was a key player and her serves got the girls up to thirteen. The Lady Lynx lost thirteen to fifteen. They got fourth place.

Holt said, “We’ve been working on hitting the ground and I think that although we improved it drastically, that’s still something we need to be comfortable doing, hitting the ground and getting after balls. We still see some and we’re still hesitant and wonder ‘what if’ or ‘can I?’ And that should never be a question.”

The girls have been working and improving so much on hitting the ground. From their first scrimmage to this tournament was a huge difference, in just one week of practice.

Holt said, “It didn’t show in the final placement of the tournament, but I think overall, in the level of play, we were able to perform and we went with it. It’s only going to get better.”