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Personnel changes help Faith Academy volleyball win first district match

CAPTION: A lineup change will move junior Jillian Martin from libero to outside hitter. Head coach Erin Sawyer notes Martin brings added muscle to the front row that will help the Lady Flames end rallies. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls volleyball team defeated Temple Holy Trinity 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 Sept. 14 for its first victory in District 3-3A play of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

The Lady Flames (1-3) now turn their attention to hosting Waco Reicher at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, and a road trip to Waco Live Oak Thursday, Sept. 21. Live Oak finished fourth in the district race to take the final playoff spot.

Faith head coach Erin Sawyer didn’t mince words when she explained the importance of beating Holy Trinity and what helped pave the way to victory.

“It was huge we won,” she said. “I threw in a change in our lineup. It took some getting used to. I’m going to tweak it further.”

That change was moving junior Abbye Blackington to setter and junior libero Jillian Martin to outside hitter. Senior Brooke Farmer will return to middle blocker.

“I have high hopes,” Sawyer said. “I hope the changes will prove fruitful. (Martin) is a good leader. She uplifts and has an encouraging word for her teammates.”

The coach noted she didn’t make the changes on a whim. She kept a watchful eye on the court chemistry between the players and evaluated film with the aim of coming up with solutions that will best help the Lady Flames.

“We have all the assets,” she said. “We have a good solid team, we have the trust in these girls to tweak it a little more to be consistent.”

The lineup before wasn’t yielding district wins, she added, pointing out the three consecutive losses to begin play. And the Lady Flames have been playing with a specific lineup for several weeks. So to change it after the start of district play wasn’t done lightly.

“I felt we had other hitters,” Sawyer said. “I think we have stronger hitters and strong assets. It wasn’t translating in our district. I needed us to be more consistent. We have a lot of girls with strong capabilities. I’m hoping these changes will be solid. The girls were open for the changes.”

The coach noted the changes caught several by surprise.

“It wasn’t easy. It’s not for the faint of heart,” she said. “I have a good group of girls. It was a hard decision to do that. It was to help those girls do well and obtain their goals. I did it in order for us to meet our goal of making the playoffs and being in the top four. ”

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