Holtville earns first area win in last attemptPublished 10:49am Thursday, October 10, 2013
On their night, Senior Night, the Holtville Lady Bulldog seniors blazed a curtain-calling offering in their last home match versus area opponent Childersburg Monday.
Five seniors were honored before the contest. Holtville suited up six girls. With two girls out with an injury and an illness, the Dawgs (4-12, 1-7) banded together and dismantled the Lady Tigers in straight sets for their first area win of the season in its last area game, 25-15, 25-13, 25-15.
Multiple players were forced to play in positions they hadn’t all year due to the two that were out, said HHS coach Libby Collier, but she was impressed.
“Taylor Nix stepped up did a heck of a job setting the best she could, she hasn’t set all year long,” Collier said. “The libero, Erin (Spivey), she stepped in and played front row for me and did a great job. She’s used to playing back row, she didn’t know the rotation. Kaylie Hopper has not played back row all year long, she’s only played front row and she was 9 of 10 in one game serving.
“It’s an area win, our first one of the year. They stepped up and they did what I asked them to do. So I’m very proud of them, very proud of them.”
Nix began the match with a tone-setting ace for HHS. With Childersburg leading 5-3, Hopper hit five consecutive aces to give the Lady Bulldogs the final lead change of the set. They stretched the lead to 21-8, before taking the first game 25-15.
Holtville mostly scored short points in the first set. The second and third sets featured a few more longer rallies and the team adjusted to win those points as well.
And it was the seniors in their home finale that led the way. Hopper had six aces and three digs. Kate Culverhouse hit four aces along with three kills. Hayden Willis added five aces and three kills. Nix had 10 assists and Summer Horn had three kills.
Although the makeshift lineup she put out on the court Monday played near-flawlessly, Collier said once everyone returns she plans to move them back to their original positions in time for the area tournament.
“I’m going to try to get everybody back to where they were because that’s where their comfort zone is,” she said. “We didn’t pass-set a lot here and Taylor couldn’t push the sets because she’s not a setter. So, hopefully by the area tournament I’ll have my setter back and I can include Ashley in that. I might change up my offense, I may run a 6-2. It’ll depend on how practice goes.”
Practicing during the two-week break, the coach said, will be intense in order to extract all the skill she knows her players possess.
“We’re going to use that (break) to really pull out all the stops. Our practices are going to be intense. We’ve got a lot of work to do. This team is here is too skilled to end our season in the area tournament the way our season has ended. They have too much skill and I’m looking for them to come to that area tournament a different eight girls.”
In her first year back with the program, 2013 was outlined with adjustments in Collier’s eyes. The players had to adjust to her coaching style and she had to adjust to being back at the helm and her personnel. Picking up their first area victory at the end of the season tells Collier that things are beginning to come together.
“Of course I would have liked to have peaked earlier in the season because these girls are seasoned players,” she said. “They’ve played for years. But again, I chalk that up to I’m a different coach than they’ve seen. I have never coached these girls before. So they’ve had to come in and they’ve had to learn me and I’ve had to learn them. I’ve changed up their offenses, I’ve changed up their rotations, I’ve changed some of their positions.
“I would have liked to have peaked earlier, but I’m happy with what’s coming together here towards the end. So I’m hoping to build on that.”
Holtville traveled to Wetumpka Tuesday for its regular season finale.