One day before the start of the 2022 season has the Marble Falls High School volleyball team feeling very optimistic. That’s because head coach Kait Goertz enjoyed what she saw from her Lady Mustangs in back-to-back scrimmages at Bastrop Cedar Creek Aug. 5 and at Wimberley Aug. 6 to cap the first week of two-a-days.
Marble Falls welcomes Kyle Lehman on Tuesday, Aug. 9, to Max Copeland Gym, 2101 Mustang Drive, for the season opener. The sub varsities play at 5:30 p.m., while the varsity takes the court at 6:30 p.m.
“We saw a lot of great things, but I’m looking to see everyone play,” Goertz said. “I want to see who’s going to step up and take that spot. It’s me seeing how they respond and interact with other players. This is the strongest we’ve been in confidence and enthusiasm. Some of this is on the girls in terms of what they’re going to do.”
Marble Falls faced Austin Travis and Cedar Creek Aug. 5 and Lockhart and Wimberley Aug. 6. Goertz used the scrimmages to move players to different spots, mixed the lineup and challenged the athletes to play through errors while increasing their rapport. She was especially curious to see their responses while also being uncomfortable.
Goertz said she is still examining rosters spots, adding her players aren’t making it easy thanks to their performances.
“I’m using this week to make those decisions,” she said. “Our first week went really well. We’re implementing new things. The girls are responding to it. They know the payoffs in the end have been beneficial.”
Goertz didn’t give too much detail on what they’re doing, preferring to let the Lady Mustangs’ performances answer that question for her.
“We’re trying to speed up our offense,” she said. “Some of it comes down to several people and the way we are with serve-receive and our sideout percentage. Defensively, we’re trying to slow down the other team.”
Serve-receive is the first step in any offense and is dictated by the defensive specialists being able to pass the ball through a bump to the setter after receiving it from the other team’s server. If the pass isn’t where the setter is standing, it makes executing the offense a challenge.
“We can’t speed up our offense if we’re not effective (on serve-receive),” Goertz said. “We’re creating more opportunities that maybe the girls haven’t used before.”
But they’ve witnessed it used against them while members of District 25-5A, the coach added. In that district, teams installed complex offenses with fake jumps and constant movement by the front line designed to confuse the defense. The more complex an offense, the harder it is for the defense to set up a block to counter what the hitters and setters want to do.
Since the Lady Mustangs and Goertz are entering their third year together, they have the elements in place to add more to the offense, Goertz said. And the best part is the athletes asked their coach for more complexity in the offense. To Goertz, that illustrated a trust in themselves that they believe they can do it, a trust in each other, and a trust in their coach’s ability to teach them.
“They want these things,” she said. “They believe we can do this, we’re capable of doing this. We’re introducing it and really going step by step and locking it down. They understand certain things and are willing to challenge and experiment some of the things we’re working on.”
Another positive are the individual talks Goertz is having with her players, who’ve come to her and expressed a desire to do more. Such was the case with senior libero Sandra Gonzales, a returning letterman who also is a captain. The other captains include senior middle blocker Dallyn Pickett and junior outside hitter Sadie Harris.
“In a game, you can’t always hear me,” the coach said. “(Gonzales is) going to be in charge to make sure we’re set up correctly. She was taking control and people were working with her. They want to be in the right place for us to be successful.”
Thanks to a weekend of positive strides, the Lady Mustangs are ready to get the season rolling, the coach said.
“The girls are probably the most excited going into a season as I’ve seen them,” she said.
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