Inside Tivy’s locker room, coach Stephanie Coates gave her Tivy volleyball players two options for their response to Tuesday’s match
The first option: Lady Antlers leave Antler Gym feeling sorry for themselves after faltering in the final three sets of their 25-16, 25-15, 15-25, 16-25, 12-15 defeat to Seguin.
Or, here’s the second option: They learn from the experience and attend Wednesday’s practice ready to improve.
Tuesday’s setback was by far the most heartbreaking loss for the Lady Antlers (24-10, 7-2 District 26-5A) this season. They still remain in second place in the district standings, but Tuesday’s defeat gave Boerne Champion a two-game lead in first place, essentially costing Tivy an opportunity to win a district title.
In the first two sets, the Lady Antlers played like a team capable of winning a district championship. But in the final three sets, they committed too many errors to win a district game.
“Being in this kind of atmosphere — district game, this much pressure, you had a great first round — it’s a different kind of pressure,” Coates said. “They have to learn to deal with that.
“Hats off to Seguin. I am going to tell you we lost because of high error. But that’s the first game we have lost all season at Tivy. We had been perfect at home. … I thought Seguin handled the pressure really well.”
Sophomore Ally Schiedle posted a triple-double with 18 kills, 13 assists and 13 digs. Keirson Jalowy had a double-double with 12 kills and 17 digs. Senior libero Savana Trahan delivered 14 digs. Junior Neva Henderson registered a team-high 23 assists and Paige Melcher chipped in 10 kills and six players.
All of the aforementioned players helped the Lady Antlers exceed expectations this season, propelling them through the first half of district play with only one loss. And they were dominant during the first two sets on Tuesday. They were solid in serve-receive, allowing Henderson to alternate setting to Scheidle, Jalowy and Melcher. Scheidle sealed the second set with an ace.
But Coates has been coaching long enough to know never to grow comfortable with a two-set lead. After the game, she admitted she thought her players were too jovial after the second set. She was afraid they had lost their focus.
Tivy could never regain that focus in the final three sets. The Lady Antlers committed blunders in serve-receive, which limited opportunities for their outside hitters to attack. Seguin capitalized. The Lady Matadors built a 15-7 lead in the third set, rattled off 10 unanswered in the fourth to race to a 24-14 lead and scored six of the first seven points in the fifth set.
“Basically (this match) came down to errors,” Coates said. “The first two sets we were very low error. We executed really well. … I thought we got very uptight and nervous in sets 3 and 4 instead of settling down and getting back to basics.”
The only solution to Tuesday’s loss is to work hard this week in practice as the Lady Antlers prepare to play McCollum on the road on Friday. Coates witnessed her girls play with an edge earlier this season, when outside expectations for them were low. She’s hoping they regain that passion after Tuesday.
“At the beginning of the season, it was new — we didn’t have many wins under our belt,” Coates said. “There was that urgency earlier in the season, and I feel like we lost that urgency. … That’s what our focus is. I am not going to beat them over the head with the errors, because at this point we can’t do anything about that.
“What we can do something about is how we respond.”